The heartbreaking story behind photo of koalas at gym

An adorable photograph of koalas at a gym hides a heartbreaking story.

The mother and baby koala wandered into a Brisbane gym, crashing an evening Crossfit class last month.

While mother Caramello and joey Toffee delighted gym-goers at The Results Room in Mansfield, in Brisbane’s south, their visit is thought to be a result of the destruction of koala habitat in Queensland.

The koala is listed as ‘vulnerable’ in Queensland, under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999).

“The koala population has been devastated over the last hundred years and is currently under great threat due to urbanisation and massive, uncontrolled habitat destruction,” the Australia Zoo said on its website.

Mother and baby at The Results Room in Mansfield. Source: Yahoo Lifestyle

The Australian Koala Foundation estimates that over 80 percent of original koala habitat in Australia has been cleared since European settlement.

Kiriana Griffin, the director and co-owner of the Crossfit Gym says that the class was about to start when the pair entered.

“The gym is very small and people were hanging around when the koalas just walked through the roller doors,” Ms Griffin told Yahoo Lifestyle.

“They were completely unfazed by the lights or people. They proceeded to wander through our facility testing out the equipment until settling on some equipment to watch the workout.

Mother Caramello and her joey Toffee (pictured). Source: Yahoo Lifestyle

“After a little while the mum climbed up on top of the bench press, basically. One girl actually did a workout whilst the koalas were watching her.”

The RSPCA was called and collected the furry pair. They were monitored overnight, then tagged and released in the Bulimba Creek Catchment, 20 minutes southeast of Brisbane the next day.

It comes after a polarising new conservation report predicted that koalas could be extinct in New South Wales by 2050.