TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A koala who captured hearts around the world after it was rescued from the devastating brushfires in Australia has died.
The koala, dubbed Ellenborough Lewis, was unable to recover from his injuries and was put to sleep on Tuesday, according to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital.
“We recently posted that ‘burn injuries can get worse before they get better,’” the hospital wrote. “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.”
Ellenborough Lewis made headlines earlier this month after a video of his rescue went viral.
In the video, the disoriented koala is seen wandering onto a road, then heading back toward the brushfire. A motorist, Toni Doherty, chases him into the burning brushland, scoops him up and wraps the koala in a shirt off her own back.
After getting him to safety, Doherty doused him with water in hopes to cool him down, then took him to a local animal hospital.
The koala was named Ellenborough Lewis after Doherty’s grandchild.
More than 350 koalas are fear dead as a massive wildfire rages through Australia’s eastern coast.
A GoFundMe campaign was created for the hospital to support their efforts in treating the animals. So far, it’s raised $1.6 million, surpassing a $25,000 goal.