Lewis the koala who went viral after a woman rescued her from burning NSW bushfire has tragically been put down following his badly burnt injuries. "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.
Toni Doherty was filmed by a 9News cameraman rushing into burning bushland in Port Macquarie to rescue the animal on the state's Mid North Coast last week.
The animal – dubbed 'Lewis' after one of her grandchildren - was badly burned across his chest and stomach.
He was taken to the nearby Port Macquarie Koala Hospital where his burns were bandaged and he was given antibiotics. Following the plight of Lewis who became the face of koalas in the tragic bushfire, the hospital's fundraising campaign has raised more than $1.6 million – smashing its initial target of $25,000.
With the extra money raised, the hospital plans to spend the excess funds to set up a wild koala breeding program.