Koala rescued from Australia’s bushfires reunited with the heroic grandma who saved it

WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:

  • A badly burned koala that was rescued crying and screaming from Australia’s bushfires has been reunited with the heroic grandma who saved its life.
  • The viral video shows Toni Doherty, a grandmother of 7, taking her shirt off her back and running towards the burning forest to rescue a koala hanging on to dear life.
  • Toni visited the koala, whom he named Lewis after one of her grandkids, at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where the marsupial is being treated for severe burns.

A badly burned koala that was rescued crying and screaming from Australia’s bushfires has been reunited with the heroic grandma who saved its life.

On Wednesday, a viral video of a dramatic rescue of a koala from Australia’s bushfires has been doing the rounds on the internet.

The footage shows motorist Toni Doherty getting out of her car and running to help a screaming koala near Port Macquarie, New South Wales (NSW). As the searing fires ravage the area, Toni took her top off, grabbed the badly burned koala, wrapped the koala in her shirt as it cried and screamed in pain, then ran as fast as she could to bring the animal to a safe place.

The poor koala was reunited with the heroic grandma on Thursday when Toni visited Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where the marsupial is being treated for severe burns.

“It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road,” Toni told CNN affiliate 9News. “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.”
Toni named the koala Lewis, after one of her seven grandchildren.
When Toni visited Lewis at the hospital, he was wrapped in blankets and hooked up to an oxygen mask. But he was able to munch on the branches of eucalyptus placed by his bed.
Sadly, after Toni’s heroic act, Lewis only has a “50-50” chance of survival, the hospital told 9News on Wednesday.
If he survives, it will still be a long road to recovery as the koala’s hands and feet are completely burnt. He also has burns on his stomach, chest, nose, and is badly singed all over his body.
The catastrophic fires in NSW are feared to have killed more than 350 koalas according to animal experts. The Koala Hospital Port Macquarie said the fires have “decimated” the area, which is a key habitat and breeding ground for the animals. Detection dogs are being used to save koalas by sniffing them out in the wild as part of search and rescue operations as the fires continue to rage on.
The fires grew stronger due to soaring temperatures, strong winds and the worst drought in decades. But summer hasn’t really even begun — and there are growing concerns that conditions will only get worse. December 1 is the official start of summer in Australia but the fire warning in South Australia has already been raised to “catastrophic,” the highest level on the ranking system.
There were four reported fatalities and hundreds of homes have been ravaged by fire.. More than 1,300 firefighters continue to battle the flames across Queensland and NSW states.
Source: CNN

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