Southeastern Australia has been taken over by devastating bushfires for the past month, which have so far killed 6 people, destroyed hundreds of homes, and wiped out countless wild animals. Koalas are already listed as a “vulnerable” species by Australia's environmental ministry, but they are particularly vulnerable to fires because they instinctively climb to the tops of trees, towards the flames. More than 300 koalas have sadly died due to the rapidly-spreading fires, but one particular koala recently had a lucky escape—thanks to the bravery of local woman named Toni Doherty.
After spotting the koala amongst the flames in New South Wales, Doherty rushed to its aid. Video footage shows her wrapping the terrified and badly wounded animal in her own shirt and scooping it up in her arms. Doherty then poured water over the koala to try and soothe its burns, before wrapping it up in a blanket and bringing it to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where more than 30 koalas are already being treated for fire-related injuries. The heroic woman says, “I knew if we didn't get him down from the tree then he would have been up there amongst the flames.”
Doherty named the koala Lewis, after her grandchild. “This male koala who was so disoriented by the flames and unfortunately was burnt further as he headed back into active fire,” say Doctors from the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. “He has been treated and is now in the five star accommodation at the Koala Hospital.” Reporter Lizzie Pearl went to visit Lewis this week to check on how he’s doing. She tweeted, “He’s well enough to have a munch on some eucalyptus leaves this morning.”
Want to help the koalas who are suffering from the fires? The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has set up a GoFundMe page where you can donate to their cause. Find out more about how they plan to use the money on their website.
A brave Australian woman called Toni Doherty recently saved an injured and dehydrated Koala from a bushfire in New South Wales.
Watch the heroic moment below.
The lucky koala is now recovering at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
Lewis is around 14 years old … he’s well enough to have a munch on some eucalyptus leaves this morning. Is still suffering some serious burns after being rescued from a bushfire yesterday. 🐨 @9NewsSyd pic.twitter.com/OFzX9PqfeW
— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) November 19, 2019