Koala rescued from brush fire dies one week later


PORT MACQUARIE, AUSTRALIA (WBTW/CBS/CNN) – A koala rescued from a raging brushfire in Australia has died. The dramatic video of his rescue from the inferno captured the attention of people around the world.

Toni Doherty was seen on video that went viral using her shirt to smother flames on the koalas fur. Doherty gave the koala water to drink from a bottle and took it to the hospital. It happened in New South Wales last Tuesday.

Today, we’re learning the koala had to be put to sleep because it’s burns were only getting worse, not better. The Port Macquarie NSW Koala Hospital made the announcement on social media.

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.

Koala Hospital Port Macquarie/Facebook

Doherty visited the koala, in the hospital a few days after the rescue. She named it “Ellenborough Lewis” after one of her seven grandchildren. During the visit Doherty said, “He had had flames up on his back legs, so I just covered him with my t-shirt, managed to get him off the tree and it was so hot and just run to, where it was more open.”

Lewis was just one of 14 koalas injured in Australia’s wildfires this month, treated at the Port Macquarie koala hospital. Officials say as many as 350 koalas may have burned to death.

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