I’m not the type to become emotional too easily.
These days, it takes touching tributes to the Springboks and animals in distress to really hit home, and this video below falls into the latter category.
Chances are you’ve seen the widely-shared footage of Ozzie Toni Doherty running from her car to help a koala near Port Macquarie, New South Wales (NSW), as devastating fires tear through the state.
The video ends with the koala being handed over to rescue services, although that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the koala rescue. A warning that the animal’s cries will hit home:
Here come the tears again.
The koala, since named Ellenborough Lewis after one of Doherty’s seven grandchildren, was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, with Business Insider SA saying that he is receiving “five-star treatment”.
Earlier in the week, the hospital had said that his chances of survival were 50/50, as his hands and feet were almost completely burnt, but it’s now reported that he is well enough to munch on the branches of eucalyptus placed by his bed.
Look at him go:
Lewis is around 14 years old … he’s well enough to have a munch on some eucalyptus leaves this morning. Is still suffering some serious burns after being rescued from a bushfire yesterday. 🐨 @9NewsSyd pic.twitter.com/OFzX9PqfeW
— Lizzie Pearl (@lizziepearl) November 19, 2019
Let’s share more good news, too. Off the back of the video being so widely shared, the hospital has seen a massive boost in funding:
[The] hospital on Friday raised over AU$1 million (R11 million) in order to save and rehabilitate animals injured in Australia’s devastating bushfires that continue to rage across the country.
Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, an animal rehabilitation center located along the Australian coastline north of Sydney, created a GoFundMe page called “Help Thirsty Koalas Devastated by Recent Fires.”
The fundraising page featured pictures of injured koalas who were receiving treatment at the Port Macquarie facilities. The hospital far surprised its initial fundraising goal of $25,000 (R367,000), raising $AU1.19 million (R11 million)…
“The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital has been overwhelmed by the kindness, good wishes and support from the Australian and international community for the wildlife icon, the koala,” the campaign organisers wrote.
At the time of writing, the GoFundMe page had raised closer to $AU1,23 million.
That funding means that it’s not only Ellenborough Lewis who will be receiving five-star treatment, but all of the 31 koalas that are currently being cared for.
The hospital shared this image earlier this morning:
Along with this caption:
This is Lake Innes Nature Reserve Peter. He is eating well, and his burns are healing as we expected. Its early days yet for most of them. We currently have 31 from various fire grounds up and down the Mid North Coast of NSW. We thank you all for being so supportive, kind and caring. We still have three months of summer to go yet before any rain of any value is predicted to fall.
Peter, you absolute bloody ripper.
Back to the hospital and what they can do with their increased funding:
The hospital said its initial goal was to raise money to create automatic drinking stations for koalas and other endangered wildfire to access in burnt areas. The large influx of donations helped them increase the number of drinking stations they can implement, and also helped them purchase of a water-carrying vehicle to replenish the fountains as necessary.
“Donations have now reached an incredible amount and we are extending the project to establish a wild koala breeding program,” the hospital said. Some of the funds were also being used to build a “Koala Ark,” which would help rehabilitate and encourage breeding amongst the recovering koalas before they can be returned to the wild.
The GoFundMe page for the koala hospital is the second-largest ever in Australia, which does help restore a smidge of faith in humanity, I guess.
Long live Ellenborough Lewis, Peter, and all the other koalas down under.
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