Why did the koala bear cross the road? Like the old joke says, “To get to the other side,” in this case a six-lane freeway in Canberra, Australia. But this was no joke. Cars, swerving to avoid the young koala, crashed into each other, causing a five-car pileup. All’s well that ends well, however, as there were only some minor human injuries and none at all to the koala bear.
Nadia Tugwell, was driving along on this Southern Australia freeway when she noticed the pileup and stopped to investigate. Tugwell, and a stranger with a blanket, worked together to catch the little guy.
“The koala was absolutely not damaged in any way,” Tugwell said. “It was very active, but very calm.”
At that point, with the koala bear safely in her trunk, Tugwell drove to the nearest gas station and called wildlife rescuers to come get the errant marsupial. While waiting for the rescuers to arrive, the small creature managed to climb out of the SUV trunk and into the cabin. “It decided to come to the front toward me, so I said, ‘OK, you stay here. I’ll get out,’” said Nadia.
The koala decided that the top of the steering place was the ideal spot on which to rest its posterior. As it sat there, Nadia snapped away, taking a bunch of photos with her phone camera. She’d known all along how to deal with koala bears, as she lives near a eucalyptus forest, a natural habitat for koala bears, who love to eat eucalyptus leaves. Sometimes they make their way out of the forest and into homes. But it Tugwell has a trick for calming koala bears. It seems you calm koalas by covering their eyes.
The unfortunate part of this sweet little story is that the leather trimmings of Tugwell’s luxury car sustained some scratch marks. But Nadia didn’t mind. She said the happy ending was worth a little damage to her car.
The wildlife rescuers released the koala bear into a nearby forest—nearby, but well away from six-lane freeways, humans, and vehicular traffic.