Lonely Planet Writer

Australian police find baby koala in woman's backpack during routine stop

Australian police in Brisbane found a 1.5 kg baby koala in a woman’s backpack after searching her bag during a routine traffic stop on Sunday night. The 50-year-old woman handed over the canvas bag with the baby koala inside saying she had rescued the animal the previous night.

A policewoman holds a baby koala tucked inside a handbag in Australia's Queensland, Nov. 6, 2016.
A policewoman holds a baby koala tucked inside a handbag in Australia’s Queensland, Nov. 6, 2016. Image by Getty Images/Xinhua/Queensland Police Service

The koala was taken to a wildlife hospital by the police where it is being nursed back to full health. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) reminded people that if they do find an injured animal the best thing is to call it in on their animal emergency hotline 1300 ANIMAL. Although the animal may look superficially well enough it could have internal injuries if it has been hit by a car or fallen from a height.

SYDNEY, Nov. 7, 2016 -- A policewoman holds a baby koala tucked inside a handbag in Australia's Queensland, Nov. 6, 2016. Australian Queensland police have discovered a baby koala tucked inside a woman's handbag.
A policewoman holds a baby koala tucked inside a handbag in Australia’s Queensland, Nov. 6, 2016. Australian Queensland police have discovered a baby koala tucked inside a woman’s handbag. Image by Getty Images/Xinhua/Queensland Police Service

Koalas are sometimes mistakenly called koala bears but they’re actually Australian marsupials. The biggest danger to these adorable furry beasts is habitat loss from land clearing, bushfires or diseased eucalypt trees.

You can only spot koalas in the wild in forests on the eastern seaboard areas of Australia. Although there are hundred of species of eucalypts there are only a few that koalas can eat making their limited habitats more important to sustain their wild populations.

Zoos and wildlife parks that have koalas to see up close include Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary in Queensland, Hanson Bay Wildlife Sanctuary on South Australia, Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, and Symbio Wildlife Park in NSW.