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Published: Tue, September 19, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

Koala Takes Death-Defying Ride In 4WD Wheel Arch

Koala Takes Death-Defying Ride In 4WD Wheel Arch

A female koala has had the ride of her life, clinging to the axle of a four-wheel drive in Adelaide.

The driver was unaware of his furry cargo until hearing odd cries as he arrived at his destination near Adelaide, Australia.

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

Jane Brister, who answered the driver's call to the Koala Rescue Hotline, called the local fire department to help remove the wheel and free the animal.

Ms Brister is a long serving wildlife rescue officer with Fauna Rescue of South Australia's Koala and is a koala specialist.

'Upon arrival I was aware of the smell of burnt fur which added to the trauma of the situation'. "It would have been hot in there".

It was not until he stopped that he heard crying under the vehicle and called the Koala Rescue Hotline.

While rushing the koala to the vet, Brister discovered she was lactating and likely missing a joey, or infant. Sadly, the joey wasn't found.

Once she released her grip Ms Brister said she had superficial wounds however was covered in oil and grease. The whereabouts of her baby, called a joey, are not known.

Koalas in the wild are considered to be vulnerable, according to the Red List of Threatened Species, and have an estimated decline total of 28% recently.

Its main threats are habitat destruction and modification, with dogs and cars posing a high risk, as well as drought, disease and bushfires.

Despite the death defying experience, Kelly escaped with very minor injuries and was released back into the wild Friday afternoon.

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