It’s the miraculous and heartbreaking story that has everyone on the Internet weeping over their work desks or phones: An Australian superhero, Toni Doherty, saw a koala burned by the wildfires ripping through the Port Macquarie area, ripped off her shirt to pick it up, and ran in to save its life. The koala was trying to cross a road in, his fur covered in burns. Today: “It was terrifying to see him just come out of the flames and he looked so defenseless running along the road.”
In the video, Doherty rushes toward the screaming koala and feeds it water and then pours water all over its wounds.
She continued, “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.”
This story reminds us that despite everything we see and hear in the news every day, there is still good left in the world. However, these wildfires, spanning more than 2.5 million acres, have cost the lives of nearly 350 koalas (and four humans). Koalas are a vulnerable species, as their numbers are in serious decline — and the fires are only contributing to that.
She and her husband than rush the koala to Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. Because, yes, Australia has koala hospitals.
More than 31 koalas have been treated at the hospital, many of them searched for in the wildfires by National Parks and Wildlife Service as well as the hospital’s team members. This prompted the hospital to launch a GoFundMe,
which has received $900,000 in donations from wonderful human beings.
With the money, the hospital is planning to buy a “water-carrying vehicle with fire fighting capabilities than they can use to replenish water at the stations,” according to Distractify.
The koala lived, but his wounds are serious.
And because goodness must prevail, the koala lived — and Doherty came to visit him — his name is now Lewis, named after Doherty’s grandchild — at the hospital.
Sadly, the hospital staff says Lewis is in critical condition: “He is probably 50-50 at this stage,” they told 9news.com.au
. “His feet are completely burnt and he has burns to his chest and stomach. He has been bandaged and given antibiotics but will take a lot of looking after, if he pulls through.”
It goes without saying that the entire world is thinking of little Lewis and all the other koalas who are fighting for their lives or who have died by fire.
Also, everyone the world over loves Doherty:
But there’s a greater message here: We have to better—in general, and to the planet: