Ignoring the raging flames around her, she removed her shirt and wrapped the animal in it. She then attended to the frightened animal, cleaning it with water.
The virtue of kindness is hard to find at times. Therefore, incidents that shed light on the kindness of strangers is a relief. It makes us want to believe in the good that is still alive in the world. And this news coming from Australia amid the raging bushfires is one such incident. A selfless woman stepped up to the rescue of a helpless animal and saved it from losing its life.
According to CTV News, motorist Toni Doherty from Australia dramatically rescued a crying koala from a bush fire near Port Macquarie, New South Wales. The video of the incident that occurred on 19 November, 2019, showed the woman running from her car to help the badly scorched koala crawling through the bush fires. Ignoring the raging flames around her, she removed her shirt and wrapped the animal in it. She then attended to the frightened animal, cleaning it with water.
A woman rescued a badly burnt and wailing koala from an Australian bushfire on Tuesday.— NBC News (@NBCNews) November 19, 2019
The koala was spotted crossing a road amongst the flames near Long Flat in New South Wales, on the eastern side of Australia. pic.twitter.com/fStGSAzwkD
Recalling the incident, Toni said, "It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road. I knew I needed to put something around him as I ran to the tree, so I just took off my shirt and covered him with it. I just tried to get him out of the fire, it was so hot and so frightening."
She added that the devastated animal was crying out in fear. "I've never heard a koala before. I didn't realize they could cry out. It was just so heart-rending and I knew I needed to get him out of there as quickly as possible," said Toni.
The woman then transported the injured animal to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital that could treat up to 15 affected koalas. "I was so pleased I had something to put over him and to get him out of harm's way. It was a handy top. I've washed it, it's back in the wardrobe," said the woman.
The kind local later reunited with the animal on 21 November, 2019. She even named the Koala, Lewis after one of her seven grandchildren. Wrapped in blankets with an oxygen mask, the badly injured animal is being treated for severe burns. However, the hospital informed that the 14-year-old animal only had a 50 percent chance of survival.
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
"He is probably 50-50 at this stage. His feet are completely burnt and he has burns to his chest and stomach. He has been bandaged and given antibiotics but will take a lot of looking after, if he pulls through," said a spokesperson from the hospital.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital says anyone who’d like to help Lewis and all his mates who aren’t doing so great after the bushfires can donate at https://t.co/FzcfNdpKoR 🐨 @9NewsSyd pic.twitter.com/DC3pS6Pgot— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) November 20, 2019
As of now, Koala Lewis has been shifted from the hospital to a carer's home. "He has gone to a carer's home away from the koala hospital, where he will receive continuous care," said Toni.
However, it would truly be a miracle if Lewis survives. According to animal experts, 350 koalas have been killed in the bush fires in the area. The fires have destroyed the animals' key habitat and breeding ground. As the fires are widely spreading, dogs are being used to detect koalas by sniffing them out.
Update: According to CNN article dated November 26, Lewis the Koala has died. Considering the extent of the injuries and, it became evident to the doctors that the injuries wouldn't improve, and hence they took the decision to euthanize Lewis. RIP furry friend!