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Lewis the Koala, Who Drew Worldwide Attention After Rescue, Has Tragically Died

Lewis the koala—who was rescued from Australia’s horrific wave of bushfires—has sadly died.

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Lewis Koala Dies
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(TMU) — A koala who drew global attention after being rescued from Australia’s horrific wave of bushfires has died after it became clear that his burns were not going to improve.

The marsupial, dubbed Ellenborough Lewis, had been taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital last week after a woman daringly rescued him from one of the several wildfires engulfing the state of New South Wales.

On Tuesday, the koala hospital made the heart-rending decision to euthanize Lewis after an inspection of his wounds, which were not improving, the hospital said in a post to Facebook.

The hospital wrote:

“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.”

Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep. We placed him under general anaesthesia this morning to…

Posted by Koala Hospital Port Macquarie on Monday, November 25, 2019

On Saturday, the hospital warned that it was considering taking the step of ending Lewis’ life after it had been determined that the 14-year-old koala’s “injuries and his pain are not treatable and tolerable.”

Lewis had gone viral after dramatic footage emerged of a woman running into a raging brushfire to save him. Video showed the koala, badly burned with patches of fur missing, running near the fires before the woman, Toni Doherty, saved him by pouring bottles of water on him and wrapping him in a blanket.

Doherty later told 9 News:

“The poor koala, he was crying and screaming, because he was being burnt. He was burning underneath, on his little back legs… I’ve never heard a koala before. I didn’t realise they could cry out. It was just so heart-rendering.”

Lewis’ death comes as some experts warn that anywhere from several hundred to over one thousand koalas have died in the fires sweeping over New South Wales and Queensland over the last two months.

In Port Macquarie alone, it is estimated that 350 koalas have died out of a population of 600.

Christine Adams-Hosking, a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Queensland in Australia, told National Geographic:

“They’re such helpless little things.

A bird can fly, a kangaroo can hop very fast, but koalas are so slow. They basically just get stuck where they are.”

Last week the Mind Unleashed reported that Deborah Tabart, the chairman of the Australian Koala Foundation, warned that the koala population is “functionally extinct” due to the difficulties of the species recovering from the fire.

The Port Macquarie Koala Hospital and other experts disagreed with Tabart’s assessment, however, which they see as far too alarmist.

Wildlife conservationist Chris Johnson said:

“We’re not going to see koalas go extinct this fast.

Koala populations will continue to decline because of lots of interacting reasons, but we’re not at the point where one event could take them out.”

While the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital’s assistant clinical director Scott Castle said:

“Koalas are not functionally extinct across Australia. In the regions that have been fire-affected we won’t know the full extent to changes in population dynamic until they are properly surveyed.

It’s far too broad to say they are functionally extinct.”

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

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Animals

Dolphin Swims Through Louisiana Neighborhood in Aftermath of Hurricane Ida

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A Louisiana family was shocked to find a dolphin swimming through their neighborhood in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida.

Amanda Huling and her family were assessing the damage to their neighborhood in Slidell, Louisiana, when they noticed the dolphin swimming through the inundated suburban landscape.

In video shot by Huling, the marine mammal’s dorsal fin can be seen emerging from the water.

“The dolphin was still there as of last night but I am in contact with an organization who is going to be rescuing it within the next few days if it is still there,” Huling told FOX 35.

Ida slammed into the coast of Louisiana this past weekend. The Category 4 hurricane ravaged the power grid of the region, plunging residents of New Orleans and upwards of 1 million homes and businesses in Louisiana and Mississippi into the dark for an indefinite period of time.

Officials have warned that the damage has been so extensive that it could take weeks to repair the power grid, reports Associated Press.

Also in Slidell, a 71-year-old man was attacked by an alligator over the weekend while he was in his flooded shed. The man went missing and is assumed dead, reports WDSU.

Internet users began growing weary last year about the steady stream of stories belonging to a “nature is healing” genre, as people stayed indoors and stories emerged about animals taking back their environs be it in the sea or in our suburbs.

However, these latest events are the surreal realities of a world in which extreme weather events are fast becoming the new normal – disrupting our lives in sometimes predictable, and occasionally shocking and surreal, ways.

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Mom in LA Suburbs Fights Off Mountain Lion With Bare Hands, Rescues 5-Year-Old Son

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A mother in Southern California is being hailed as a hero after rescuing her five-year-old son from an attacking mountain lion.

The little boy was playing outside his home in Calabasas, a city lying west of Los Angeles in the Santa Monica Mountains, when the large cat pounced on him.

The 65-pound (30 kg) mountain lion dragged the boy about 45 yards across the front lawn before the mother acted fast, running out and striking the creature with her bare hands and forcing it to free her son.

“The true hero of this story is his mom because she absolutely saved her son’s life,” California Department of Fish and Wildlife spokesman Captain Patrick Foy told Associated Press on Saturday.

“She ran out of the house and started punching and striking the mountain lion with her bare hands and got him off her son,” Foy added.

The boy sustained significant injuries to his head, neck and upper torso, but is now in stable condition at a hospital in Los Angeles, according to authorities.

The mountain lion was later located and killed by an officer with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, who found the big cat crouching in the bushes with its “ears back and hissing” at the officer shortly after he arrived at the property.

“Due to its behavior and proximity to the attack, the warden believed it was likely the attacking lion and to protect public safety shot and killed it on sight,” the wildlife department noted in its statement.

The mountain lion attack is the first such attack on a human in Los Angeles County since 1995, according to Fish and Wildlife.

The Santa Monica Mountains is a biodiverse region teeming with wildlife such as large raptors, mountain lions, bears, coyote, deer, lizards, and snakes. However, their numbers have rapidly faded in recent years, causing local wildlife authorities to find new ways to manage the region’s endemic species.

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Blue Whales Return to Spain’s Coast After Disappearing for 40 Years

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Blue whales have been returning to the Atlantic coast of Spain after an absence of over 40 years in the region, when whaling industries drove the species to the brink of extinction.

Blue whales, which are the world’s largest mammals, had long disappeared from the region until the recent sightings.

The first was spotted off the coast of Galicia near Ons Island by marine biologist Bruno Díaz, who heads the Bottlenose Dolphin Research.

Another one of the majestic creatures was spotted the following year in 2018 and yet another in 2019. In 2020, two whales again made their return to the area.

It remains unclear as of yet as to why the creatures have returned to the area, but controls on local whaling industries are believed to play a role.

“I believe the moratorium on whaling has been a key factor,” Díaz remarked, according to the Guardian. “In the 1970s, just before the ban was introduced, an entire generation of blue whales disappeared. Now, more than 40 years later, we’re seeing the return of the descendants of the few that survived.”

Whaling had been a traditional industry in Galicia for hundreds of years before Spain finally acted to ban whaling in 1986, long after the blue whale’s presence in the region had faded away.

Some fear that the return of the massive sea mammals is a sign of global warming.

“I’m pessimistic because there’s a high possibility that climate change is having a major impact on the blue whale’s habitat,” said marine biologist Alfredo López in comments to La Voz de Galicia.

“Firstly, because they never venture south of the equator, and if global warming pushes this line north, their habitat will be reduced,” he continued “And secondly, if it means the food they normally eat is disappearing, then what we’re seeing is dramatic and not something to celebrate.”

Díaz said that while the data certainly supports this theory, it is too early to determine climate as the precise cause.

“It is true that the data we have points to this trend [climate change] but it is not enough yet,” he told Público news.

Another possibility is that the ancestral memory of the old creatures or even a longing for their home may offer an explanation, according to Díaz.

“In recent years it’s been discovered that the blue whale’s migration is driven by memory, not by environmental conditions,” he said. “This year there hasn’t been a notable increase in plankton, but here they are. Experiences are retained in the collective memory and drive the species to return.”

In recent years, researchers have found that migratory patterns are also driven by the cultural knowledge existing in many groups of species.

Researchers believe this type of folk memory, or cultural knowledge, exists in many species and is key to their survival.

A typical blue whale is 20-24 metres long and weighs 120 tonnes – equivalent to 16 elephants – but specimens of up to 30 metres and 170 tonnes have been found.

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