A koala is alive after a driver unknowingly drove for about 10 miles while the animal clung to the inside of his car’s wheel arch, animal officials said.
The driver was in Adelaide, Australia, on Sept. 9 when he said he heard strange noises coming from his car, according to the local nonprofit Fauna Rescue.
“He heard crying or a noise under his car, and when he investigated found the koala up under the front wheel arch,” Jane Brister from Fauna Rescue told Irish news site Newstalk. “It would have been a drive downhill through very winding roads.”
The wheel had to be pried off to get to the animal, which is estimated to be 6 years old. She was found with minor injuries and covered in oil and grease, Brister told 7 News Online.
“She was crying a little bit, she was a little bit shaken. She was certainly in shock, but I rushed her straight to the vet,” Brister told The Associated Press of the animal, which was named Kelli after one of the responding firefighters.
The vets discovered during their examination that the koala had recently given birth. The whereabouts of her baby, called a joey, are not known.
“We searched over several days but couldn’t find her joey,” Fauna Rescue told a concerned Facebook user. “Very sad.”
The little survivor was able to be released Saturday on private property. The owners promised to keep an eye on her to ensure her safety.