An ordinary morning in Queensland, Australia, suddenly turned much more intriguing when a guy stepped into his yard and saw someone surprising hanging out at the top of his clothesline.
As he got closer, the man saw the visitor was a koala that had climbed the clothesline like it was a tree. Terise Hungerford, a local wildlife rehabilitator, was soon contacted.
“[The resident] called me and said he had a Koala on his clothes[line],” Hungerford said in an interview. “At the time, I did laugh… That’s not something you hear every day.”
When Hungerford came on the scene, she promptly determined that it was in the koala’s best interests to shift her off the clothesline to a more acceptable location. Hungerford delicately lowered the koala into a carrier with the assistance of her helper. She then brought the koala to a specialist to be evaluated for injuries.
“My major focus was keeping the koala quiet and eliminating any stress to it,” Hungerford explained. “While the koala did not appear to be sick or damaged, I am not a koala specialist, so I immediately rushed it to a veterinarian for evaluation.”
After obtaining confirmation that the koala, Tilly, was ready to be released, Hungerford set about selecting a suitable location.
Tilly was soon finding her way up a tree, back to where she belonged.
Hungerford was overjoyed to see Tilly climbing again, and she even watched the young koala turn around as if to say, “Thank you for assisting me.”
“Tilly recognized the assignment and pushed the carrier door open before it could fully open,” Hungerford explained. “Tilly rushed up the tree, but paused to thank you before continuing into the canopy.”
Though Hungerford is pleased to have assisted Tilly, she is concerned that Tilly’s plight is representative of a bigger, frightening trend in which koalas are being driven out of their natural habitats and into residential areas owing to increased urbanization. Hungerford believes that through sharing Tilly’s story, she may be able to help additional koalas by raising awareness about their plight.
“Koalas are on the verge of extinction as a result of habitat loss caused by land clearance, urbanization, drought, fires, and illness.” According to Hungerford. “They are deserving of respect.”