Heartbreak as koala rescued in bushfires dies
The adorable koala whose image went viral after he was rescued from the Adelaide Hills bushfires has died.
Billy stole the hearts of animal lovers when an image of his bandaged paws was posted on social media by his devoted carers.
He had been found in South Australia's Kenton Valley last month suffering major burns to his paws and coccyx.
View this post on Instagram
Hi everyone. We have some very sad news to share with you all. Dear Billy didn’t make it to the end of his recovery journey. He was doing so well, until one day, he just wasn’t. Early one morning, as the sun came up and the birds started to sing, he closed his beautiful eyes and went to sleep. The stress of his experience in the fire proved too much for his little body to heal from. His carers are nursing broken hearts, but comforted to imagine him climbing that big gum tree in the sky. Thank you all so much for your love for him. Sleep tight Billy, we miss you ❤️🐨 . . . #koala #billy #koalarescue #koalasofinstagram #bushfiresaustralia #goodbye #wemissyou
His heartbroken carers at the 1300 Supporting Koalaz rescue organisation took to Instagram on Wednesday night to deliver the sad news.
Billy was being monitored for infections to his burns and seemed to be making good progress.
Just last week, his carers posted an update on his treatment.
"Billy has traded in his boxing gloves and socks for a single fingerless glove on one hand and a toeless sock on one of his back feet," they posted.
"This is great news because it means Billy is doing well. He celebrated by going straight for the eucalyptus and stuffed his little face."
Last November, the story of Lewis the koala, who was captured on video being pulled from charred NSW bushland, made global headlines.
Staff at the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital made the decision to put him to sleep after his burns injuries got worse.
The devastating bushfires have had a horrific effect on the nation's koala population, with fears that they could become extinct in eastern Australia within a generation.
Dr Stuart Blanch, from WWF Australia, told News Corp Australia last week that koalas in eastern Australia were on track for extinction by the year 2050, but the 2019/2020 bushfires "have brought that extinction timeline forward".