Lewis, The Koala Who Was Saved In Australian Bushfires, Has Died Due To Extensive Burns

Alfie PowellAlfie Powell in News, World
Published 26.11.19
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In rather sad news, the koala who was saved in the viral footage of a woman running into a bushfire has passed away.

Lewis the koala became somewhat of a global celebrity last week when footage showed him being saved by a local grandmother who heard him screaming in fear as flames enveloped.

The Australian bushfires have been raging in and around New South Wales since October, leaving six people dead and the landscape devastated, along with 577 homes being destroyed.

It’s not just the trees and people who are suffering though, as the wildlife is also taking a massive hit, habitats being burned to ash and animals getting injured themselves.

One of the biggest tolls was the loss of koalas living in the bush, with the numbers of deaths way into the hundreds, with another sadly joining them recently.

In footage last week, Toni Doherty can be seen running to the aid of said koala as she heard it screaming in pain and fear. She managed to retrieve it from the tree it was clinging to and wrap it in her t-shirt, as well as cleaning its wounds.

Speaking to Australia’s Channel Nine Today show last week, she said:

It was vulnerable, all I could think to do was to try and rescue him.

“We just jumped out and I knew I needed to put something around him as I ran to the tree so I just took off my shirt and covered him with it and tried to get him out of the fire.

He was being burnt. He was burning underneath, on his little back legs when he was approaching the tree, I’ve never heard a koala before, I didn’t realise they could cry out.

She then named the koala after her 14-year-old grandson and he was taken to the Koala Hospital Port Macquarie, where he was treated for his burns.

Sadly Lewis’ condition didn’t improve and with fears that he would painfully succumb to his injuries, he was put down.

Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep. We placed him under general anaesthesia this morning to…

Posted by Koala Hospital Port Macquarie on Monday, 25 November 2019

The hospital shared the sad news on Facebook, saying:

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 got better.

The Koala Hospital’s number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made.”

In light of the tragedy, the hospital started a GoFundMe in order to help the koalas who lost their homes to the fires. With a $25,000 target, the fundraiser stunningly managed to crowdfund $1,695,420.

koala fundraiser

Absolutely incredible.

Images via GoFundMe

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