The koala, nicknamed Sean, was hit by a car on Wednesday, and then climbed to the top of a tree in Langwarrin, a suburb of Melbourne, on Thursday, according to reports.
"This is generally what most animals will do. It's their instinct," Wildlife Victoria spokeswoman Amy Amato told The Age. "When animals are injured, they can mask their injuries well and flee from their predators. The koala saw us as its predator."
But when rescuers on ladders reached the koala, the situation looked grim.
"It appeared that it was passed away in the tree while members of the crew were rescuing it," Langwarrin Country Fire Authority (CFA) Capt. Sean Curtin told AAP.
The koala actually fell from the tree, but was caught by rescuers below holding blankets.
“I opened his mouth to see if I could feel or hear a breath, because I couldn’t see the rise and fall of his chest," wildlife rescuer Michelle Thomas told the Herald Sun. "And then I gave him mouth-to-mouth, or mouth-to-nostril.”
Thomas said that with dogs, you have to close the mouth and breathe into the nostrils, and assumed it would be the same for koalas.
"I wasn’t gonna lose a fairly healthy koala for this reason," she added.
The koala was first thought to be a local animal nicknamed Sir Chompsalot. But once rescuers realized this was not Sir Chompsalot, they gave him a new nickname: Sean, after Curtin.
The koala is said to be doing just fine.
Langwarrin & Frankston CFA have revived a koala hit by a car using CPR. Sir Chompsalot is recovering in Animal Hosp pic.twitter.com/VQApgFme8e
— Incident Alert-VicSA (@incident_alert) August 21, 2014
"This event reminds us that the passion of dedicated volunteers can save lives," Wildlife Victoria wrote on its website. "We are enormously grateful to Michelle and the CFA for responding as quickly as they could. Without them and Wildlife Victoria’s Emergency Response Service who connected Callum with the right people, things may have ended differently for Sean."
To make a donation to support Sean and other animals in the care of Wildlife Victoria, visit the organizations's website. Or you can support a wildlife rehabilitator near you by using the locator on the Humane Society website.