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Koala's miracle rescue from deserted cave: 'Absolute fluke'

Bucky has been described by one of his rescuers as the “luckiest koala” in Victoria.

Stranded in a remote cave near the South Australian border in the Lower Glenelg National Park, the chances of him ever being discovered were slim.

Above him was a sheer cliff face and below, and below the mighty Glenelg River was flowing fast and wide from recent rainfall, making it impossible to swim across.

A koala was discovered marooned inside a cave above a deserted river. Source: Supplied
A koala was discovered marooned inside a cave above a deserted river. Source: Supplied

Wildlife rescuer Janet Murray suspects the damp koala must have plummeted into the river from a tree high above, and found refuge in the cave.

With light fading on Saturday afternoon, Janet and her colleague Cheryl drove 90 minutes from their base in Hamilton to help save the animal.

Bucky the koala's miracle rescue

The chances of ever finding Bucky in the “deserted” corner of the park were minuscule, and Janet doesn’t think it would be wrong to call it a “miracle rescue”.

He had the good fortune to be seen by a father and his young son who were canoeing nearby and wanted to take a closer look at the rock face.

“No one else would have found him - there’s no way known. There was no one out there other than them camping,” Janet said.

“It was just an absolute fluke that this man and his son found him.

“I think he’s the luckiest koala in Victoria.”

Rescuer 'pushed to the limits' by koala rescue

Janet is no stranger to koala rescues. Between Wednesday and Sunday she rescued nine.

As the marsupials are frequently displaced by logging, hit by cars and attacked by dogs, the number is not unusual.

Caring for a number of babies, and working two jobs to make ends meet, Janet was exhausted by the time the call to rescue Bucky came through.

“It really pushed us to the limits, because you know, we've had so many rescues this week,” Janet said.

“We got there just not long before dark and only had a small amount of time to rescue him.

“It was pitch black by the time we got home. And we found another koala on the way home.”

Bucky the koala will likely be released in the coming days. Source: Supplied
Bucky the koala will likely be released in the coming days. Source: Supplied

She volunteers her time as a rescuer and carer, and receives no government funding for her work. Petrol alone can cost up to $450 a week as she traverses Victoria’s southwest, aiding wildlife in need.

“I live week to week,” Janet said.

“But what can you do?"

Some funding comes through charity Animal Rescue Collective (ARC), which itself receives assistance from NSW-based wildlife rescue group WIRES and a number of sponsors.

Hope koala will soon be released

Bucky was named by the four-year-old son of the family who found him. He watched as Janet’s colleague, 57-year-old Cheryl, jumped into the canoe with the boy’s father and rescued the animal.

Cheryl climbed onto the ledge and forced the tired animal into a bag.

Luckily the 10.4kg male wasn’t suffering any injuries and was just a little dehydrated. Having now been assessed by a vet on Monday, Janet is confident Bucky can soon be released.

For more information or do donate to Janet’s rescues, visit her Blessings of the Bush Koala Shelter Facebook page.

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