Koala joey reunited with mum after ride on dog's belly
THE job of wildlife rescuers can be a heartbreaking task, but Friends of the Koala volunteers have captured a moment that's truly heartwarming.
Rider, a koala joey aged between six and seven months, was rescued after being found clinging to a dog's belly.
Its mum, Knight, was found in a nearby tree.
The video, captured by volunteer Marley Christian, shows the reunion between the two, in which Rider climbs towards Knight, calling to her.
Knight checks out her misplaced joey, and the two interact in a way that's nothing short of adorable.
The group's president Roslyn Irwin said while they're too often faced with tragedy, it was an "unusual" and joyful moment for their volunteers.
"These are the things that really just gladden our hearts because so much of what we do is so distressful," Ms Irwin said.
"Picking the remains of koalas up off the road ... at the end of the day, they're distressful things to be part of."
Ms Irwin said it was moments like this that kept their team so drive.
"It was very unusual," she said.
"The people who called it in had gone out in the morning and the dogs rushed to the fence.
"Somehow the German shepherd got through the fence and the little joey somehow got under its belly and clung on."
The joey remained on its belly until the owners of the dog could safely retrieve it.
With the Northern Rivers losing 29 koalas to dog attacks last financial year, she said it was incredibly lucky the joey was safe.
"All of us were saying that's a lucky little koala," Ms Irwin said.
"The injuries caused by dogs are horrific."
She stressed any koalas hurt by pets must be treated immediately.
If you find a sick or injured koala, phone the Friends of the Koala hotline on 02 6622 1233.
To volunteer to help the group, phone their office on 02 6621 4664.