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Koala clings for dear life to front of car for 88km

TOUGH AND GRUMPY: Gympie’s miracle koala has to be one of the toughest, after his amazing display of courage and determination. Contributed
TOUGH AND GRUMPY: Gympie’s miracle koala has to be one of the toughest, after his amazing display of courage and determination. Contributed

HE MIGHT be Australia's toughest koala, or perhaps the luckiest.

And he is certainly one of the most determined.

This brave marsupial, hit by a car near Maryborough very early yesterday, clung to the car's grill for 88km - all the way to Gympie.

He was spotted hanging on, literally for dear life, when the car pulled in to the Bruce Hwy Shell service station, about 2am.

A Gympie taxi driver helped the car's occupants keep the koala from wandering onto the road and called Bent St Vet's permanently on-duty Geoff Collyer.

"It was an interesting morning," Dr Collyer told The Gympie Times yesterday.

And it was the start of an interesting day.

"I had piglets, a goat, a koala and the normal dogs and cats - all creatures great and small."

And the best thing about it was what it said about the positive side of human nature, he said.

"I guess I could have said, 'No, I'm sleeping.'

"The people driving the car could have driven him away with a stick and kept going.

"The taxi driver could have said, 'It's not my problem' and the people at Australia Zoo could have been too busy.

"But everyone took that extra step - and it wasn't really such a big step," he said.

"It only cost me an hour, the Australia Zoo people came a little bit out of their way and the drivers spent an extra 10 minutes.

"And the result is he seems to be alright," Dr Collyer said.

It seems the people in the southbound car thought they had hit something, but couldn't see anything and kept driving.

They pulled into the service station and the taxi driver pointed out there was a koala hanging on to the grill.

"He climbed off and he was a bit stressed," Dr Collyer said.

"I threw a towel over him and picked him up from behind (avoiding his claws).

"I just gave him some pain relief and wrapped him up and he de-stressed.

"But he was ready to take on the world when I first got there.

"The Australia Zoo people were up this way harvesting gum leaves for their koalas and they took him down to their animal hospital.

"But his blood pressure was fine and he seemed okay.

"They'll give him a check-up and they'll take him back to release him.

"They were great. They did it all with a smile, examined him and he wasn't bleeding.

"He's incredibly tough."

Australia Zoo was awaiting a vet's report yesterday.

"We're very happy with him and the team thought he must be okay," a representative said.

Topics:  bruce highway car editors picks koala shell wildlife

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