Tough-As-Nails Koala Survives 16km 4WD Trip After Stowing Away Behind Wheel

An inspiring bit of Australiana has taken place in the Adelaide Hills, after an intrepid koala made a 16km trip secreted in a 4WD tyre arch.

The driver of the 4WD only discovered the scruffy marsupial after he reached his destination – other motorists had tried to flag him down, but as he couldn’t find anything wrong with his car, he’d kept on driving.

When he realised he had a furry hitchhiker, hearing her crying coming from under the vehicle, he called the koala hotline straight away.

Fauna Rescue SA worker Jane Brister said:

It wasn’t until he was getting out of his car that he realised.

She was stuck in there, I tried to get her out but she was really wedged in there tight and hanging on for dear life.

In the end, they had to call in the Metropolitan Fire Service, who removed the wheel to get to the shell-shocked fuzzball.

Incredibly, she came away from the experience with only minor injuries – and she’s been named Kelli, after one of her MFS rescuers.

The Fauna Rescue service made a sad discovery, however: Kelli had had a joey, but it was nowhere to be found. Brister told the Adelaide Advertiser:

She had been feeding recently and when they have a bigger back riding joey they leave little knots, they knot up all the fur on their mum’s back from holding on and she had that on her back.

I was out searching for the joey for two days but I wasn’t able to find it.

Despite her tragic loss, Kelli recovered after a couple days in vet care, and was last seen snoozing in the fork of a tree.

Truly, more than any other creature, the koala embodies the Australian spirit: resilient, kinda mashed-looking, and always keen for a snooze. You’re an inspiration, Kelli.

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