- A woman in Australia saved a badly wounded, crying koala from a bushfire in New South Wales.
- Video footage shows Toni Doherty rushing to pick the animal up from a tree surrounded by flames, using her shirt to scoop it up into her arms.
- The koala was washed and wrapped in a blanket before being taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, which assists in the rescue and rehabilitation of koalas in New South Wales. The koala was named Ellenborough Lewis after Doherty’s grandson.
- On Tuesday afternoon local time, the hospital issued a statement on its Facebook page saying it had made the decision to put Lewis to sleep after his condition deteriorated.
- Lewis’ death spurred over 7,000 people to donate to the hospital’s fundraising campaign on Tuesday following the announcement.
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A woman in Australia saved a crying koala from a bushfire by scooping the animal up with her shirt and taking it away from the flames.
The woman, identified by 9News as Toni Doherty, said she was passing by the area on fire in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, when she saw the animal and acted on instinct to save it.
“I knew if we didn’t get him down from the tree then he would have been up there amongst the flames,” she told 9News.
Watch the footage of the rescue:
In the video, Doherty rushes toward the koala in a tree and picks it up with her shirt. The koala appears very badly burned, with scabs all over its body.
Doherty then gives the koala water to drink and washes its body before wrapping it up in a blanket.
The koala, named Ellenborough Lewis after Doherty’s grandson, was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, which assists in the rescue of koalas injured in bushfires currently ravaging Australia’s east coast.
The hospital said Lewis was receiving “five star accommodation” at its facilities.
The koala hospital, located in the coastal region of New South Wales, created a GoFundMe page to raise money for rescue efforts. Many people said they were inspired to donate to the cause after seeing the video of Lewis’ rescue.
On Tuesday afternoon local time, the hospital issued a statement on its Facebook page saying it had made the decision to put Lewis to sleep after his condition deteriorated.
“Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep. We placed him under general anaesthesia this morning to assess his burns injuries and change the bandages. We recently posted that “burns injuries can get worse before they get better”. In Ellenborough Lewis’s case, the burns did get worse, and unfortunately would not have gotten better. The Koala Hospital’s number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made.”
Lewis’ death spurred over 7,000 people to donate to the hospital’s fundraising campaign on Tuesday following the announcement.
As of Tuesday afternoon local time, the hospital had raised over $AU1.6 million ($US1.1 million), far surpassing its initial fundraising goal of $US25,000.
The recent fires are thought to have killed hundreds of koalas, listed as a “vulnerable” species by Australia’s environmental ministry. Experts at the Australian Koala Foundation announced in May that they believe no more than 80,000 koalas are left on the continent and are considered to be “functionally extinct.”
Though bushfires are a common occurrence during Australian summers, scientists have said that Australia’s fire season is beginning earlier and becoming more extreme as a result of climate change.
- Read more:
- 13 photos show Sydney under a blanket of smoke as bushfires continue to ravage the region
- This echidna had its spikes burned off in a bushfire because instead of trying to escape it just took a nap
- Australian firefighters left a heartwarming note apologizing for drinking a man’s milk after they saved his home from devastating bushfires
- Hundreds of koalas are feared dead after a massive bushfire broke out in an Australian nature reserve
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