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Dublin: 10°C Sunday 18 April 2021

Lewis the koala dies from burn injuries after being rescued from Australian bushfire last week

Last week, a video went viral of a woman who walked into a bushfire to save the koala.

Lewis the koala being saved from the bushfire last week
Lewis the koala being saved from the bushfire last week
Image: Channel 9/PA Images

A KOALA WHO received widespread attention after a video emerged of a woman rescuing him from an Australia bushfire has died. 

Deadly bushfires have ravaged vast swathes of eastern Australia in recent weeks, and wildlife carers estimate the blazes have killed hundreds of koalas in New South Wales state alone.

On 20 November, a video went viral of a woman who walked into a bushfire to save a badly burnt koala, who had been found on a road in the town of Wauchope. 

The koala, named Lewis, was given water and wrapped in a blanket before being taken to the nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for treatment for severe burns to his feet, chest and stomach.

However, the hospital today confirmed that it made the decision to put Lewis to sleep, as his burns were not going to get better. 

“We placed him under general anaesthesia this morning to assess his burn injuries and change the bandages,” the hospital said in a post on Facebook. 

“We recently posted that ‘burn 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,” it said. 

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

Speaking to Network Nine after rescuing Lewis last week, Toni Doherty said it was her “natural instinct” to save the koala from the fire.

She said she “immediately thought just get to him, put the fire out”.

Last week, a crowdfunding page set up by Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to provide automatic water drinking stations for wild koalas soared past $1 million, with donations from more than 20,000 people from countries including the US, France and England.

Includes reporting by Press Association and - © AFP 2019

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