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Rescuer visits injured koala bear in an animal hospital

AUSTRALIA (WBNG) — It’s a relief-filled reunion, after a dramatic rescue.

Australian hospital workers are giving Toni Doherty a heroes welcome for saving the life of this koala bear.

He’s now named Lewis after one of Doherty’s seven grandkids.

Just 24 hours earlier the bear was caught in a dangerous wildfire. Lewis had nowhere to go to escape the flames.

Lewis’ rescuer, Toni Doherty said, “he had had flames up on his back legs, so I just covered him with my t-shirt, managed to get him off the tree and it was so hot and just run to, where it was more open.

Dousing him with water, and giving him something to drink, she then wrapped him up and brought him to the koala hospital.

Doherty said, “I knew if we didn’t get him down from the tree then he would have been up there among the flames.”

Cheyne Flanagan, a hospital clinic director said, “he’s got really badly burnt hands and feet, he’s got burns under his arms, his nose is burnt.”

Even still, Lewis may be one of the lucky ones. 14 koalas injured in Australia’s fires this month have been brought here for treatment. Officials fear as many as 350 died at a nature reserve.

“It’s pretty devastating, it’s going to have a major impact on the populations of koalas in this region,” Flanagan said.

Lewis may be able to help with that, he could now join a breeding program because he’s too badly burned to be released back into the wild.

Hospital staff said he’ll get extra fluids and food and is enjoying the five-star service.

CBS News

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