Injured koala reunited with bushfire rescuer
A woman, who used the shirt off her back to rescue a seriously injured koala in a New South Wales bushfire, has been praised for saving his life. She was reunited with the animal on Nov. 20 at the hospital.
Toni Doherty was driving past the wildfire near Port Macquarie on Nov. 19 when she saw the koala amid the flames. The animal was screaming.
“I jumped out of the car and went straight to him,” Doherty told Australia’s 9 News. “I knew if we didn’t get him down from the tree, he would have been up there amongst the flames.”
A viral video recorded by a witness shows Doherty taking off her shirt, wrapping it around the koala and plucking the scared animal off a tree. She then carries the koala back to her car and douses him with water to soothe his burns.
Officials at the Port Macquarie animal hospital say it’s unclear if Lewis the koala will survive.
“He is probably 50-50 at this stage,” a spokesperson told 9 News. “He has been bandaged and given antibiotics but will take a lot of looking after if he pulls through.”
Doherty said she named the 14-year-old koala Lewis.
The animal has won a following on social media, where people have been eagerly checking in to see if he will pull through.
“Lewis is a very lucky koala and his rescuer a HERO,” one user tweeted on Wednesday. “I was in tears when I heard that poor koala cry out in pain,” tweeted another person.