VICTORIA, Australia – Bucky the koala is back to munching on eucalyptus leaves again after being stranded by floodwaters in an Australian cave.
The koala was starving, dehydrated and stranded in a cave by the swollen Glenelg River when a family of kayakers found him.
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Lucky for Bucky, a family had cabin fever after a week of the flooding rains and went kayaking in those floodwaters in a national park. When they spotted the koala, they immediately called the volunteer Koala Crew at Blessings of the Bush Koala Shelter, according to the shelter’s Facebook post.
"We believe he has fallen from the cliff into the river and made it into the cave, his fur was damp through," posted the shelter. "Extremely lucky koala that he was found."
Veterinarians took tests and found the 24-pound adult male was "debilitated and weak," according to a news release.
"The koala was quickly becoming weak from starvation because he had no access to his daily eucalyptus diet while trapped in the cave," Werribee Open Range Zoo Senior Veterinarian Dr. Natalie Rourke said. "Koalas are not natural swimmers, so without intervention, it could have drowned attempting to exit the cave to find food."
After 5 days of rehab at the Koala Ward, a vet facility for sick and injured koalas, Bucky was released back to near where he was found.
Lucky Bucky, indeed, the national park is still under a flood warning.
Parks Victoria posted that boat ramps and jetties are still closed, along with low-lying trails and parking lots underwater.
With not many visitors in the park chances of someone spotting him in the cave were slim.
The four-year-old son of the kayaker family named the koala, according to Yahoo News Australia.
The Australian government listed koalas as endangered in much of east Australia except for Victoria. Droughts, wildfires, land clearing and disease decimated koala numbers.