Smuggled wildlife is sometimes rescued at airports, but hidden animals turn up in other surprising places too.
When Queensland police officers questioned a 50-year-old East Brisbane woman and subsequently arrested her on outstanding matters, they made a startling find.
Before being taken to the watch house, the woman was asked if she had anything to declare.
The woman handed over a zipped green canvas bag, telling officers of the Upper Mount Gravatt Tactical Crime Squad it contained a baby koala.
Not sure whether to believe that, officers cautiously unzipped the bag and found a shy male koala joey peering out.
Photos of the find issued by Queensland Police have been published around the world, including on the BBC site.
Police are investigating claims by the woman that she found the joey the night before and was caring for it.
The RSPCA Ambulance called at Brisbane City Watch house and collected the joey – which is protected under the Nature Conservation Act.
The koala – believed to be about six months of age – is in apparent good health, although a bit dehydrated.
“He’s been on fluids but is doing well and will shortly be going out to a carer,” RSPCA Queensland spokesperson Michael Beatty said.
“He weighs 1.5 kg and we’ve called him Alfred.”
The RSPCA urges anyone who finds a koala not to attempt to handle it but to call the authorities.
Edited by Peter Needham