(KOALAS/AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE) Australian police were in for a fuzzy surprise on Sunday night after arresting a woman with an adorable baby koala in her bag. Crikey!
The 50-year-old woman was stopped during a regular patrol and arrested due to “outstanding matters.”
When asked whether she had anything to declare before being taken into custody, she shocked officers by handing over a zipped green canvas bag with a joey inside.
“The woman handed over a zipped green canvas bag, telling officers it contained a baby koala,” the Queensland Police Department said in a statement. “Not quite believing their ears the officers cautiously un-zipped the bag and found this gorgeous boy.”
Police officials said this was a first for them, and quickly turned the joey over to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in Queensland.
Estimated to be around 6 months old, the koala weighs in at 1.5 kilograms (about 3 pounds) and is said to be in good health.
The RSPCA said the koala–who is now named Alfred–was suffering from mild dehydration, but “doing well” overall.
“He’s been on fluids but is doing well and will shortly be going out to a carer,” said RSPCA Queensland spokesman Michael Beatty
While police investigate claims that the woman found the animal on the night of her arrest, the RSPCA is urging anyone who finds a koala to not attempt to handle the animal.
“Please call our animal emergency hotline on 1300 ANIMAL. Often the animal may have no obvious signs of injury but it can have internal injuries that need immediate attention,” Beatty said.
Koalas are a protected species in parts of Australia, including Queensland, where they are listed as “vulnerable” under the Nature Conservation Act.
— Alisa Manzelli, exclusive to Global Animal