Journalist falls for 'drop bear' prank as she dons protective gear to handle cuddly koala

James Rothwell

Scottish TV reporter Debi Edward was duped into thinking she was holding a lethal bear which was actually a koala in a prank by workers at an Australian animal reserve.

The ITV News Asia correspondent got dressed up in full-body armour, protective boots and safety goggles after being told she would be handling a 'drop bear' that has venomous fangs and attacks humans.

The 40-year-old, from Aberdeen, panicked as she took hold of the bear and was told by carers that they may have to subdue it with a dart gun as it was preparing to attack her.

Miss Edward was covering the devastation caused by bushfires on Kangaroo Island, off the coast of South Australia, on Saturday.

She agreed to hold the 'drop bear' while visiting Kangaroo Island Wildlife Park, where koalas rescued in the fires are being treated.

When told the bear was actually a harmless koala Miss Edward laughed and said "F***ing Aussies".