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Australian Police Arrest Woman, Find A Koala In Her Bag

| by Sarah Zimmerman

Australian police officers were shocked when a woman they arrested turned over a bag containing a live koala. 

Authorities arrested the unnamed 50-year-old woman for "outstanding matters," according to CNN. When brought to the station, she was asked if she had anything to declare. The woman handed over a green canvas bag saying that a koala was inside.

The officers, not believing what they heard "cautiously un-zipped the bag and found this gorgeous boy," according to a statement released by the Queensland Police Service.

“There are many firsts in our job and last night was one of those,” the statement read.

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The station called Australia's Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals to take the animal to a nearby conservation center. Experts estimate that the koala is six-months-old and told CNN that it was dehydrated but "doing well."

Officers are looking into the suspect's claims that she found the koala on the side of the road and decided to care for it. 

"He's been on fluids but is doing well and will shortly be going out to a carer," Queensland RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty said in a statement, per NPR. "He weighs 1.5 kg [around 3.3 lbs.] and we've called him Alfred."

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Queensland police urge civilians to refrain from handling wild koalas and instead call the appropriate authorities. Koalas are protected under the Nature Conservation Act and are categorized as "vulnerable."

Luckily, Alfred will make a full recovery but police warn that koalas need expert handling and attention.

"Often the animal may have no obvious signs of injury but it can have internal injuries that need immediate attention," the Queensland Police Department said.

Sources: CNN, NPR, Queensland Police Department / Photo Credit: Queensland Police Department

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