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Australian police find baby koala in woman’s bag

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SYDNEY: Australian police uncovered a baby koala hidden in the bag of a woman they stopped in the street.

The 50-year-old, who was being spoken to on unrelated matters on Sunday evening, stunned Brisbane officers when she revealed she had the creature in her canvas satchell.

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“Not quite believing their ears, the officers cautiously unzipped the bag and found this gorgeous boy,” Queensland police said.

“The koala – believed to be about six months of age – seemed to be in good health, although a bit dehydrated.”

The woman claimed she found the joey, which is protected under the Nature Conservation Act, on Saturday night and had been caring for it since.

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The marsupial was handed to the RSPCA, an animal protection charity, which named him Alfred.

“He’s been on fluids but is doing well and will shortly be going out to a carer,” said RSPCA spokesperson Michael Beatty.

The woman was subsequently arrested over “outstanding matters”, police said.

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The much-loved koala has been under increasing threat across Australia in recent decades, particularly from habitat loss, disease, dog attacks and bushfires.

A 2012 national count placed total koala numbers at 330,000, though their tree-top habitat makes accurate assessment difficult.

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