Koala sur­vives 16 km drive trapped un­der 4WD

Oman Daily Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

SYD­NEY: A koala sur­vived a 16-km road trip in Aus­tralia cling­ing to the axle of a four wheel drive ve­hi­cle, be­fore the driver stopped and heard the cries of the trau­ma­tised an­i­mal.

The fe­male koala had crawled into the wheel arch while the car was parked in the hills on the out­skirts of Ade­laide, the state cap­i­tal of South Aus­tralia.

The fire brigade was even­tu­ally called to take the wheel off in or­der to help a wildlife res­cue worker free the an­i­mal. “I could smell her burnt fur,” Jane Bris­ter, from Fauna Res­cue, said in a phone in­ter­view on Saturday. “It would have been hot in there.”

Sadly, al­though the koala was un­in­jured, Bris­ter said the an­i­mal was a lac­tat­ing mother which meant her joey — the term for in­fant mar­su­pi­als — was miss­ing.

“I searched that night and the next day, and the next, but I never found it,” she said.

Af­ter a cou­ple of days of feed­ing in cap­tiv­ity, Bris­ter re­leased the koala back into the wild.

Koalas, of­ten in­ac­cu­rately de­scribed as “bears”, are mar­su­pi­als, an or­der of mam­mals whose young are suck­led in a pouch.

The koala was listed as a “vul­ner­a­ble” species un­der an Aus­tralian con­ser­va­tion law in 2012.

There are fewer than 100,000 of the an­i­mals left in the wild, per­haps even as few as 43,000, ac­cord­ing to Aus­tralian Koala Foun­da­tion es­ti­mates.

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