SHOCKING: Baby koala found inside woman backpacker's bags during highway check

The koala bear has been handed over to the RSPCA and will shortly be going out to a carer.

Picture for representation
A staff holds a koala bear as is shown to the public for the first time at the zoo in Budapest. Reuters

The police were left baffled after they found a baby koala tucked inside a woman's bag after she was detained in Brisbane on Sunday night as part of a routine highway check. According to reports, when police asked the 50-year-old if she had anything to declare before she was taken into custody, she handed them her green canvas bag from where the officers discovered a six-month-old Koala bear.

"Not quite believing their ears, the officers cautiously unzipped the bag and found this gorgeous boy," said Queensland police, according to AFP.

"The koala - believed to be about six months of age - seemed to be in good health, although a bit dehydrated," they added.

When interrogated, the backpacker told the police that she found the creature, which is protected under the Nature Conservation Act, on Saturday in Kessels Road at Nathan and has been caring for it since then. Following the incident, the Koala bear was handed over to the RSPCA, an animal protection charity.

When the charity was contacted for comments, a RSPCA spokesperson said that the Koala bear is doing fine under their care. "He's been on fluids but is doing well and will shortly be going out to a carer...He weighs 1.5kg and we've called him Alfred," he said according to Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The spokesperson also urged people to call the animal emergency helpline if a Koala bear is spotted and requested people not to take in the animal by themselves.

"Often the animal may have no obvious signs of injury but it can have internal injuries that need immediate attention," he said, according to the news portal.

The herbivorous marsupials, which are native to Australia, were listed under Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2008. However, the species is dying out due to particularly from habitat loss, disease, dog attacks and bushfires.