Toni says her "natural instinct" kicked in when she saw the distressed animal. "I knew if we didn't get him down from the tree, then he would've been up there amongst the flames," she told Nine News.
The koala, which Toni named Lewis after one of her grandchildren, was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and was being treated for serious burns on his hands, feet, arms and the inside of his legs.
On Sunday, the hospital provided an update on Lewis’ condition, noting that he is receiving substantial pain relief and is in home care receiving round the clock care. “Its early days yet for him, and with anyone who suffers burns human or animal, things can often get worse before they get better.”
Unfortunately, Lewis' burn injuries did worsen, and the following day the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital had to make the difficult decision to put him down.
“Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep,” said the koala hospital in a Facebook announcement on Monday. “The Koala Hospital's number one goal is animal welfare, so it was on those grounds that this decision was made,” explained the post.
"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.”