Hitchhiking Koala Survives 10-Mile Journey in Wheel Axle
Animals| | By Robin Milling
A koala from South Australia hitched a ride as a stowaway inside the wheel axle of a four-wheel drive and miraculously survived the 10-mile journey. The driver was flagged down by other motorists but failed to find anything wrong. It wasn’t until he stopped that he heard crying and discovered the koala clinging under the car for dear life. High up in the Adelaide Hills, the driver called a 24-hour koala rescue hotline run by Fauna Rescue SA, whose policy is to rescue, rehabilitate, and release animals back into the wild. Rescuer Jane Brister responded to the call and showed up to find the koala wedged inside the wheelwell, seated on the axle as if it were a tree fork – their favorite place to sleep.
When Brister surveyed the situation she found that she needed extra help, so she reached out to the Metropolitan Fire Service. Firefighters had to remove the wheel to free the koala, who was a female. “It would have been a drive downhill through very winding roads,” she told Newstalk. She has since been named Kelli after one of the firefighters who helped rescue her. After Kelli was freed, Brister rushed the koala to the vet. The good news is she was unscathed by the ordeal, but sadly there were signs that she had been carrying a joey as she was lactating and had knotted fur on her back. The vet surmised that she was about 6 years old and had recently given birth. “After everything she went through, she lost her joey as well,” Brister told ABC News in Australia. They were unable to find her joey, but Kelli is safe and sound. She has been released onto volunteers’ private property, and they have vowed to keep an eye on her. “She has an ear tag so we can always identify her if she comes into care again,” Brister told Newstalk. This is not the first time that an Adelaide Hills koala was found in a vehicular predicament. There was the case of “Bear Grylls,” where a koala survived being hit by a car. Unbeknownst to the driver, who returned home six miles later, the koala was still there and alive, draped over the grille.
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