An amateur photographer captured the moment perfectly in a few snaps.
A few days before the year 2021 turned out quite interesting for some beach-goers in Australia as they were surprised by a cute koala wandering on the shore. A koala hopped on a surfboard and sat in the water for some time at the Apollo Bay main beach, west of Melbourne. Kim Bedford, an amateur photographer, was spending her time with her family on the beach when she saw the little creature stroll by from the trees to the nearby sand, according to The Daily Mail.
Posting the cute koala's picture on her Instagram page, Kim wrote, "Amazing scenes at Apollo Bay Beach this morning! A koala just coming down to check out the waves. Unbelievable! Lucky I happened to have my big camera out." The marsupial was the center of attention as it crawled around the shore and on top of the surfboards. Koalas, along with surfing, bring about a lot of business for the south-western Victorian coastal hotspot.
Apollo Bay's beach is known as the "paradise by the sea" by the locals as it is located at the foot of the lowest slope of the Otway Ranges, sheltered by the Cape Otway. The beach attracts a lot of tourists every year. Typically, the northern part of the continent houses a number of rainforests, which is also the region occupied by the koalas. The little one was captured on camera by Kim a day before New Year's Eve, which garnered a lot of appreciation on social media.
One of the viewers commented, "Can't get much more Australian than that." Another was a bit concerned for the little creature and wrote, "Omg this is amazing 😻 hope the beach sand was not too hot for his/her paws ❤️."
However, according to wildlife carer Tracey Wilson, the reason the little koala was out on the sands was that it was "stressed." Tracey has an animal sanctuary in south-west Victoria where she has taken care of hundreds of koalas. She revealed that even though she's never heard about koalas on beaches, she's heard about finding them in unexpected places, as per ABC News. "It's mainly due to a lack of natural habitat, development and town planning that could be done better," she said.
Tracey has helped rehabilitate dozens of koalas found emaciated on a south-west Victorian timber plantation. She explained that even though koalas are commonly found in the Otway Ranges, she's not sure why one was on the beach. Tracey revealed that koalas can be found in their natural habitats but finding them on the beach is uncommon. The beaches at Apollo Bay are part of the Great Otway National Park as it stretches from Torquay, along the Great Ocean Road, and up through the Otways hinterland.
"They have very poor eyesight, so it was probably just trying to get away. I think it's just ended up in a bad spot, and the fact it had a lot of people following and watching it has stressed it out really badly and it's ended up in panic mode," noted Tracey. Luckily, according to the reports, the koala made its way back to the nearby forest later.