The video of Toni Doherty’s daring rescue, wherein she removed the shirt off her back to protect the koala, went viral last week. Even so, the animal, named Lewis, sustained serious burns all over his body.
The terrified koala was rushed to nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, a facility accepting koalas injured in the Australian fires. Tragically, however, he was unable to recover.
Watch Toni’s rescue below:
Two days ago, the hospital issued an update on Lewis’ health, stating they were uncertain as to his future given the extent of his injuries.
“If we feel that his injuries and his pain are not treatable and tolerable, we will put him to sleep as this will be the kindest thing to do,” they said.
“Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep,” their post reads. “We placed him under general anaesthesia this morning to assess his burns injuries and change the bandages.
“The Hospital 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.”
The hospital also said it is currently treating more than 30 koalas for burns and other injuries related to the fires, but not all will survive.
According to reports, as many as 1,000 koalas may have died as a result of the bushfires, while 80 percent of their habitat has been destroyed. Needless to say, fears over the future of the species are growing.
Rest in peace, Lewis. Such a tragic loss of life cannot be underplayed.
Share this article to pay your respects to all the life lost as a result of the wildfires, and to thank all those doing everything they can to limit the devastation.