The koala known as Ellenborough Lewis, which shot to internet fame after he was rescued from massive wildfires that engulfed South Wales, has died.
According to CNN, the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital decided to euthanize Lewis on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. After examining the koala’s wounds, it became clear that Lewis’ burns were not going to improve, according to the hospital.
“(Our) number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made,” the hospital posted on its Facebook page.
Lewis was already receiving “substantial pain relief,” and the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital warned on Saturday that it was considering putting Lewis to sleep if it was deemed that “his injuries and his pain [were] not treatable and tolerable.”
Lewis shot to fame after a video went viral showing Toni Doherty running from her car to help the koala near Port Macquarie and the catastrophic fires raging around them which have ravaged New South Wales.
Doherty named the koala Lewis, after one of her seven grandchildren.
The two were reunited at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital prior to his death. Lewis was wrapped in blankets and using an oxygen mask.
The wildfires have been particularly devastating to the koala population in the region, with more than 350 having been killed by the fires, according to the animal experts.
Animal experts worry that the frequent devastating bushfires and deforestation could continue to spell danger for Australia’s koala population. According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species, koalas are now considered endangered.
By Jeanette Vietti
CNN: Lewis the koala dies one week after rescue from Australia bushfire
Image Courtesy of Steven Penton’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License