Heartbreaking footage of koala 'mourning' death of companion

The rescuer attending the scene found the male huddled over the female 'crying'.

A devastating video of a koala mourning the death of its companion at the base of a tree broke the hearts of thousands of Aussies on Friday.

South Australian volunteer group Koala Rescue revealed they were called by a member of the public who found a male koala at the bottom of a tree, huddled over and hugging a female who had passed away. "It is always devastating to attend a rescue involving a deceased koala, but it was even more heartbreaking to witness the male koala actually holding and hugging the deceased koala," the caption read.

Hartley, the rescuer on call who attended the scene, said he was heartbroken when he saw the pair. "It's something we've never, ever seen before," he told Yahoo News Australia. "Everyone we have spoken to has never seen this sort of thing with a male and a female — [only] with a mum and her joey."

Image of a male koala hugging a dead female koala at the base of a tree, mourning her.
Aussies are heartbroken after a koala was caught mourning his dead companion. Source: Koala Rescue/Facebook

Reactions flooding in from heartbroken Australians

After seeing the video of the Koala crying over its friend, many have shared how sad they are for the male in mourning. "This is just heartbreaking and goes to show that animals understand way more than humans give them credit for. He is crying and mourning her. I hope he finds happiness again," one said.

"This is the saddest video ever. I'm crying my heart is broken. I hope the big fella will be OK," another responded.

"This type of behaviour is rarely witnessed by our rescuers, but confirms the empathetic are caring nature of koalas," Koala Rescue said.

After seeing the immense reaction on their Facebook post, Hartley was in shock. "Oh my god," he said. "Since we started, people are becoming a lot more aware of what's happening to Koalas."

Female koala's cause of death unknown

Hartley retrieved both koalas and released the male koala nearby after checking he was in good condition. At this stage, he and Koala Rescue are unsure of how the female died as there were "no signs of illness or injury".

"The people who called it in to us said the two of them had been in the area around the house for weeks and weeks," Harley said. "There's a possibility that they could have been mating pair but [usually] once the males have mated with the females, they just move on. So it's very, very strange."

It has been suggested the pair could have been mating up in the tree before accidentally falling, which may have caused the death — though Hartley says they "just don't know" for sure.

Koalas continuously killed and displaced

Koalas have been the source of increasing tension between wildlife advocates and the government as they continue to be displaced due to logging and development, as well as hit "left, right and centre" by cars on the road.

Since Koala Rescue was established in August 2020 it has recorded that over 440 koalas have been hit by cars in Adelaide and the surrounding suburbs, with rescuer Pamela Head previously saying it was "disturbing" how these incidents are "increasing in frequency" due to many of the animals being pushed into suburban areas.

If you see a Koala who appears injured, please contact your local wildlife rescue — in SA you can contact Koala Rescue on 0474 737 283.

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