Woman Uses Shirt Off Her Back To Save Scorched And Crying Koala In Viral Video

Huge swaths of Australia are on fire as the continent sees high temperatures and dry weather. At the time of this writing, 49 bush and grass fires are blazing in New South Wales alone, with 25 of them not yet contained.

Homes are burning and at least three human deaths have been confirmed, but the cost to wildlife is estimated to be catastrophic, particularly the vulnerable koala population.

Experts have estimated that at least 350 koalas have died in the NSW fires.


The bushfires at located in major habitats for the animals and sadly, we're unlikely to know the full cost until the fires are out.

It can be hard to imagine the true effects when numbers are so large, though, which is part of why a specific video is going viral.

In the video, an injured koala can be seen wandering across a road.


It must be very disoriented, because it wanders back up into the flaming bush and attempts to climb a tree for safety.

Firefighters were nearby, but it was resident Toni Doherty who saw the koala first as she drove down the road.

She leaped out of her car and rushed into the burning bush, using her own shirt to carefully pick the koala up and carry it away from the flames.


Out of the fire, she called for someone to bring her the water form her car, which she used to cool down the poor animal.

It's at the point in the video that the koala's cries of pain can be heard and it's devastating.


By then, the firefighters were helping too and they bundled him up in a blanket.

Then Toni climbed into her car and drove the animal directly to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.


The koala, who has been named Lewis after one of Toni's grandchildren, is currently being treated by the hospital. They say his chances of pulling through are currently about 50-50.

"His feet are completely burnt and he has burns to his chest and stomach," they told 9News, "He has been bandaged and given antibiotics but will take a lot of looking after, if he pulls through."

Lewis is being well-taken care of by the staff at the hospital.

Dozens of injured koalas have been brought into the hospital since the beginning of the fires, with hundreds more feared dead.

Lewis is one of the lucky ones.

The hospital also started a GoFundMe campaign. The original goal was $25,000 to pay for water stations to be placed throughout the fire zones, so that animals could have access to clean drinking water.

But as of this writing $917,158 has be raised and the hospital is expanding its plans for how to help all the wildlife affected by the fires.

h/t: 9News

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