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Rescued from Aussie Bushfire, Lewis the Koala Dies a Week Later

Video of the daring rescue — which shows Toni Doherty using her shirt to wrap up the koala — was viewed globally.

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Rescued from Aussie Bushfire, Lewis the Koala Dies a Week Later
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An injured koala which drew wide global attention after being rescued dramatically by a woman from a ferocious Australian bushfire has been put down, after veterinarians failed to save the animal from his burns, according to media reports on Tuesday, 26 November.

The koala, dubbed Ellenborough Lewis, was taken to an animal hospital last week after a woman plucked him from a tree in burning bushland in New South Wales.

The koala, said to be 14-years-old, had significant burns to its chest, feet and other parts of its body, vets said.

Video of the daring rescue — which shows Toni Doherty using her shirt to wrap up the koala — was viewed globally.

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Vets said the koala was put down because his burns were not improving.

“(Our) number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made,” said Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.

“We were there this morning. We are naturally very sad about this, as we were hoping he'd pull through but we accept his injuries were severe and debilitating and would have been quite painful,” Peter Doherty told 9News.com.au, speaking on behalf of his wife Toni.

Doherty named the koala after one of her seven grandchildren, CNN reported.

Lewis had already been receiving “substantial pain relief,” and the hospital warned on Saturday that it was considering putting him to sleep if it was determined that “his injuries and his pain are not treatable and tolerable.” Six people have died and more than 500 homes have been destroyed since a bushfire crisis began ravaging Australia in September.

In the video, Doherty is seen pouring water over the distressed animal in an attempt to cool it.

She told local news outlets she had been driving through the forest when she spotted the koala among the flames and heard its cries.

"I didn't realise 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," Doherty said earlier.

The hospital has treated dozens of koalas injured from the bushfires which have burnt through more than a million hectares in New South Wales alone.

The blazes have been particularly devastating to the region's koala population. More than 350 of the marsupials are feared to have been killed by the fires, media reports quoted animal experts as saying.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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