Woman Stops Short When Elusive Mom And Baby Cross Her Path

"I felt very lucky to have [had] such a close encounter with the two ..."

Lucinda Slee and her family were recently enjoying a walk along a bush path in Byron Bay, Australia, when they noticed a fuzzy figure ambling along the dirt near them. Curious, Slee and her mother got a bit closer. Excitedly, they realized there were actually two visitors — a mother with a baby riding on her back.

Lucinda Slee

Though this area of the country is frequented by koalas, the nervous animals usually avoid people. Slee was amazed to have spotted the little family wandering by.

“Mum and I felt very lucky to have [had] such a close encounter with the two, especially seeing the joey,” Slee told The Dodo. “It was such a special moment!”

two koalas
Lucinda Slee

Mother koalas have a very close relationship with their babies. A newborn baby koala typically lives in her mother’s pouch for six months before finally venturing outside. Over the next 12 to 18 months, mother koalas help their babies grow and teach them helpful lessons, like which foods to eat.

“At first the joey will always be in contact with the mother, either riding on her back or sometimes on her belly,” Linda Sparrow, president of Bangalow Koalas, told The Dodo. “Koalas are generally very good mothers and will react quickly if a joey makes a distress call.”

Koalas like this mother and baby are currently listed as endangered in many parts of Australia under the Environment Protection & Biodiversity Conservation Act. Sparrow hopes that by sharing stories like this one, people might be encouraged to help these beautiful animals.

“Without stronger protections, east coast koalas are at risk of disappearing altogether,” Sparrow said.

Certainly, this encounter has impacted Slee and her family, who will surely remember the moment for years to come.

“I wish I had [had] my two-year-old with me, because she loves koalas,” Slee said. “[She] asks to watch the video nonstop.”