The Koala Hospital confirmed on Tuesday that the injured koala had to be put out of his misery as his condition was worsening.
Lewis the koala, the marsupial who made headlines after being rescued from the Australian bushfires by a heroic woman, was put down on Tuesday after his injuries were deemed "too serious to treat." He'd been under the care of the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie where he received treatment for severe burns to his hands, feet, arms, and the inside of his legs. In an update on Sunday, the facility had revealed that they were uncertain of Lewis' future and that if his pain and condition didn't improve, the humane thing to do would be to put him to sleep.
RIP LEWIS: There's been a sad update on Lewis, the badly burnt koala that captured our hearts during the bushfire crisis.— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) November 26, 2019
Unfortunately, Lewis was unable to overcome his injuries and was humanely put to sleep at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital. #9News https://t.co/uPuUz4Ub1I pic.twitter.com/LePJFsf3V6
In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Koala Hospital confirmed that the injured koala had to be taken out of his misery as his condition was worsening: Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep. We placed him under general anesthesia this morning to assess his burns injuries and change the bandages. We recently posted that 'burns injuries can get worse before they get better.' In Ellenborough Lewis's case, the burns did get worse and unfortunately would not have gotten better. The Koala Hospital's number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made. We thank you for your ongoing support.
I’m sorry to everyone this news upsets. The outpouring of support for Lewis and all of the Aussie Koalas has been incredible to witness. The world is full of good people. 🐨🇦🇺❤️RIP Lewis. 🐨 pic.twitter.com/IQ3xHxCH5c— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) November 26, 2019
The post was soon flooded with comments from social media users across the world who'd been following Lewis' journey since he was rescued by a heroic woman named Toni Doherty. "So, so sad... but he leaves a legacy behind of raising our awareness of the perils these poor creatures face. It's a shame that it has taken such a tragic incident to do this, but I for one am certainly more aware of the plight of koalas as a result of Lewis' story. I've adopted some of the other injured koalas already as Christmas presents for friends overseas," wrote Facebook user Jane Price.
Lewis the Koala, who was rescued from the NSW bushfires by a brave woman who ran into the flames, has been put down.— KIIS 1065 (@KIIS1065) November 26, 2019
Rest in Peace Lewis. ❤️
More details here >> https://t.co/4JS0KMArAm pic.twitter.com/24rRDBkEiO
"Like everyone else who saw the video of Toni rescuing Lewis, I am heartbroken. Was praying so hard that he would pull through... Thank you, Toni, for rescuing him and Thank you Port Macquarie Koala Hospital for the care you gave him. At least he did not die alone. He was loved and the whole world fell in love with him ❤. Hopefully, he will be an inspiration for the changes that need to take place in Australia to save future generations of Koalas. Rest in peace sweet koala Lewis," commented Paula Longshore.
🐨This is Toni Doherty who saved Lewis the Koala. Her husband Peter, an excellent wingman! But wait for it... after she pulled her shirt off to douse the flames on his fur, I gave her one of my t-shirts. 24 hours later she returned it to me...washed and everything!! @9NewsAUS 🐨 pic.twitter.com/FzMIsLMkPd— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) November 21, 2019
In the update on Sunday, the Koala Hospital had revealed that Lewis was "receiving substantial pain relief (as are all the other burnt koalas who require it and some certainly don't), and he is in home care receiving round the clock care. It's early days yet for him, and with anyone who suffers burns human or animal, things can often get worse before they get better. Lewis at the moment is in the category of 'prognosis guarded' as in we are uncertain of his future. If we feel that his injuries and his pain are not treatable and tolerable, we will put him to sleep as this will be the kindest thing to do."
Fortunately, Ellenborough Lewis—named after his rescuer's grandchild—got a chance to reunite with Toni prior to his death. According to a report by The Daily Mail, Toni revealed why she decided to save the marsupial while speaking to Channel Nine's Today Show on Thursday. "It was vulnerable, all I could think to do was to try and rescue him. We just jumped out and 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 and tried to get him out of the fire. He was being burnt. He was burning underneath, on his little back legs when he was approaching the tree, I've never heard a koala before, I didn't realize they could cry out," she said at the time.