World Lewis Day Date in the current year: November 26, 2024

World Lewis Day World Lewis Day is an unofficial environmental observance held annually on November 26. It was created to raise awareness of the hundreds of koalas that have died or have been displaced due to bushfires and to promote koala conservation.

The koala is one of the most iconic Australian animals; because of its distinctive appearance, the koala is recognized as a symbol of Australia, along with the kangaroo. Unfortunately, these cute creatures are listed as a vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The main threats faced by koalas include habitat destruction and degradation, urbanization, droughts, and bushfires.

Koalas are probably the most vulnerable to bushfires because eucalyptus trees where they live are highly flammable, and koalas move too slowly to be able to escape. Moreover, they rarely even try to escape; when in danger, koalas instinctively climb up to the very top of a tree, seeking refuge, curl up there, and become trapped. Koalas that don’t die from the fire may die later due to overheating and dehydration. Thousands of koalas have died in Australian bushfires, and more have become displaced due to the resulting habitat destruction. Habitat fragmentation caused by bushfires makes koalas isolated and causes a sharp reduction in the size of their population.

World Lewis Day was created to raise awareness of the dangers of bushfires for koalas. It was named after Lewis the Koala that was saved from a bushfire in November 2019. During the 2019-2020 Australian bushfire season, also known as Black Summer due to its devastating effects, Toni Doherty from New South Wales saved a badly burned koala and named him Ellenborough Lewis after one of her seven grandchildren. Lewis was taken to the Port Macquarie Koala Hospital, where he was treated for his burns.

Lewis’s story went viral after video footage of Doherty running from her car to save the koala was posted online. Sadly, it did not have a happy ending; the burns were too extensive for Lewis to recover, and the hospital made the heartbreaking decision to put him down on November 26, 2019. Lewis spent his final moments being hand-fed eucalyptus leaves; he was so exhausted he could barely eat. The anniversary of his euthanasia has become known as World Lewis Day.

World Lewis Day isn’t celebrated in any official capacity, but there is no denying that it is very important to raise awareness of the devastating effects of bushfires on Australia’s koala population and contribute to koala conservation. You can get involved by donating to the Australian Koala Foundation or any other organization dedicated to saving koalas, symbolically adopting a koala, volunteering at a koala rescue near you (if you happen to live in Australia), and spreading the word on social media with the hashtags #WorldLewisDay and #SaveTheKoala.

World Lewis Day isn’t the only observance dedicated to koala conservation. There’s also Save the Koala Day, celebrated annually on the last Friday of September. The Australian Koala Foundation launched it in 2008 to raise awareness of the importance of protecting koalas and preserving their natural habitat.

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Ecological Observances, Unofficial Holidays


World Lewis Day, environmental observances, unofficial holidays, Australian bushfires, koala conservation, Lewis the Koala