Koala’s population numbers have been dwindling to record low numbers as wildfires have ravaged much of their habitat in Australia. The wildfires are expected to take as much as two-thirds of their natural habitat. A dramatic video was captured on Tuesday showing the moment a good Samaritan stopped her car and rescued one of these marsupials who was on fire.
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A woman named Toni Doherty is being touted online as a hero after video showed her taking the shirt off her back to rescue an injured, partly burned, koala. The koala, who looked to be in extreme pain, had water poured on him by Doherty. The woman also got the animal to drink some water so he didn’t get dehydrated.
According to Doherty’s account, the koala became disoriented in the fire and walked into the part of the forest that was engulfed in flames. “He just went straight into the flames, and I just jumped out of the car and went straight to him.”
Doherty then wrapped the koala in a large blanket. You could see blood and burnt hair covering the blanket. After minor treatment, the koala was taken to the nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital where he was cared for, Bored Panda reported.
As of now, the koala “is probably 50-50 at this stage,” a spokesperson for the hospital said in regards to the koala surviving. The internet is pulling for the koala that was named “Lewis” as he may be one of the lucky ones.
According to Fox News, the koala population in the area has been decimated by these flames. It’s suspected that hundreds of koalas died in the fire.
Instinctively, koalas climb high into trees to get away from the flame but as we all know, heat rises, making it extremely dangerous that the marsupials could fall out of the tree into the flames below.
Bear, a detection dog that specializes in finding koalas, has been tasked with finding injured koalas in the already-burned forrest.
So far he has rescued 31 koalas but there are many more that are unaccounted for.