Woman hailed a hero as she saves ‘screaming’ burnt koala from bushfires in Australia
A woman is being hailed a hero after she risked her life to rescue a burnt koala from the bushfires in Long Flat, Australia, last Tuesday, Nov. 19.
Toni Doherty spotted the injured animal, who was named Lewis, while she was passing through the area, as per Nine News on the same day.
“It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road,” she was quoted as saying.
As she approached the koala, she took off her shirt and used it to cover the animal. She described the incident as “so hot and so frightening.” Footage of Doherty’s rescue also showed her pouring water on the koala’s burned body parts immediately after getting it out of harm’s way.
After the rescue, Doherty narrated that the koala was “crying and screaming” because of the flames.
“I’ve never heard a koala before. I didn’t realize they could cry out,” she said. “It was just so heart-rending and I knew I needed to get him out of there as quickly as possible.”
Following Doherty’s heroic act, the 14-year-old koala was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital to receive treatment for its injuries, as per report. Doherty later revealed that Lewis was “doing well considering the trauma he suffered,” but stressed that it was still a “long road to recovery.”
A spokesperson for the hospital explained that Lewis’ chance of surviving was not looking well.
“He is probably 50-50 at this stage,” the spokesperson told the news outlet.
He pointed out that Lewis sustained burns to his chest and stomach, and that his feet were “completely burnt.”
Doherty has been reunited with Lewis today, Nov. 21, after the koala received treatment for his burns. According to the report, Lewis is also set to be transferred to a carer’s home to receive further care.
Meanwhile, because of the recent bushfires in Australia, the hospital has put up a GoFundMe page to develop a koala breeding facility to ensure that the species does not become extinct. Ryan Arcadio /ra