REMARKABLE: To view the video, see our website. Image: KIRRA COVENTRYAS their canoes approached akoala, stranded ona tree in the Murray River, the La Trobe University Outdoor and Environmental Education students whipped out their phones.

It was the closest Kirra Coventry had been to a koala in the wild.

But it seemed the koalawanted the canoes to come even closer.

Ms Coventry said she and her peers could see the koala eyeing their boats as they approached.

“It almost looked as if he wanted to get closer to the canoe,” she said.

“One of the guys jumped out of his canoe and slowly edged it out to him.”

It was with surprise, and delight, that they watched as the koala jumped into the front seat and cruised outwith them to the nearest bank.

With her university lecturers in mind, Ms Coventry recorded the encounter.

She said the footage hadbeen met with astonishment.

“Everyone’s pretty amazed that he was so happy and so comfortable to jump in and get so close to people –he was so relaxed,” Ms Coventry said.

“It’s not often that you get to see wildlife like that up close.”

The Bendigo student and her peers met the koala yesterday around the Ulupna Island section of the Murray River, at the tail-end of a kayaking trip.

“The river came up quite high in the last couple of days, and was starting to come down,” Ms Coventry said.

The students believe the koala became strandedwhen the water roseand had been out there for acouple of days.

“The water was flowing too fast for him to get down,” Ms Coventry said.

“Once he was on the shore he wandered off a little bit and drank water for the next five or 10 minutes.”

The Bendigo SES member said it was her firstrescue involving wildlife since joining the unit earlier in the year.

“We lend a hand when we can,” Ms Coventry said.

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