CANBERRA, Australia (AP) – A koala has been rescued after causing a pile of five cars while trying to cross a six-lane highway in southern Australia.
Police said an accident in heavy traffic Monday morning in the city of Adelaide caused several injuries but no one needed an ambulance.
The animal rescuer said he got out of his car to investigate what caused the pile. Nadia Tugwell, coat in hand, teamed up with the stranger holding the blanket to catch the marsupial. The concrete highway divider has blocked the koala crossing.
“The koala wasn’t completely damaged at all,” said Tugwell. “It’s very active, but very quiet.”
Once the koala was in its trunk, Tugwell went to the gas station to hand the animal over to a wildlife rescuer. For a while, the koala can climb from the trunk to the cabin of his SUV.
“He decided to come up front at me, so I said, ‘OK, you stay here. I’m going out, ‘”he said.
“It started sitting for a while at the wheel: (as if) saying: ‘let’s go for a walk,’ and that’s when I started taking photos,” he added.
Tugwell said he has learned from past experiences how to soothe koalas by covering their eyes. He lives near a eucalyptus forest outside Adelaide and has twice called in veterinarians to rescue koalas that have been injured in fights with other koalas.
“I live in the hills, and if you let them do what they want to do and you don’t go after them or anything, they’re fine,” said Tugwell.
The leather trim on his luxury vehicle was scratched by the animal, but Tugwell said the happy ending was worth the damage.
The koalas are then released in the forest – away from the freeway.
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