The Koala A Grandmother Risked Her Life To Rescue From A Wildfire Has Died

Ellenborough Lewis, the koala whose rescue from a raging wildfire by a grandmother was caught on video and captured headlines around the world, has died.

Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where Lewis was being treated for his injuries, made the sad announcement in a Facebook post.

Lewis's survival was always in question.


Although Toni Doherty, a grandmother of seven, raced into the wildfire to rescue Lewis, even literally giving him the shirt off her back, he sustained severe burns to his hands, feet, arms, chest, and the inside of his legs.

After he arrived at the hospital and was treated with bandages and antibiotics, a hospital staffer told 9news.com.au that "He is probably 50-50 at this stage."

Lewis, named by Doherty after one of her grandchildren, received round-the-clock care.

He could only eat a single leaf of eucalyptus at a time due to his injuries, meaning feedings could take up to an hour at a time.

After a couple of days, the hospital issued an update, saying that "anyone who suffers burns human or animal, things can often get worse before they get better," and gave his prognosis as "guarded," saying they were "uncertain of his future."

Unfortunately, Lewis's wounds did indeed get worse, and the veterinarians didn't expect him to improve.

"Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep," they wrote. "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.

"We thank you for your ongoing support."

However, some good may yet come of this.

Doherty and the hospital's remarkable effort to save Lewis sparked a massive outpouring of support from the public.

The official GoFundMe page for Port Macquarie's koala rescue efforts had an initial goal of $25,000, but since Lewis and Toni's story emerged, they have raised more than $1.7 million, and the donations keep pouring in.

h/t: 9news.com.au

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