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Ohana the pug, Lewis the koala & 'gay' penguins - three animal stories that melted our hearts in 2019

27 December 2019 - 07:43 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Ohana, the miracle pug who travelled from Cape Town to Joburg for life-saving surgery earlier this year, has found a new home and is healthy.
Ohana, the miracle pug who travelled from Cape Town to Joburg for life-saving surgery earlier this year, has found a new home and is healthy.
Image: Facebook/Pug Rescue South Africa

The stories of the rescued pug Ohana, Lewis the koala and the “gay” penguins who “stole” an egg so they could raise a chick as their own, melted our hearts this year, making them some of the most unforgettable and relatable animal stories in 2019.

Happy ending or not, these three stories served as a reminder that, like human beings, animals too face tough challenges and can rise above them.

Here are three animal stories we loved this year:


Ohana has taught human beings a few lessons about persistence and courage. He made headlines earlier this year when he survived being run over by a car in Cape Town, a tragedy that left him on the verge of losing the use of his hip, a leg, bladder and bowels.

He was driven for 16 hours from Cape Town to Gauteng, by volunteers from animal rescue organisation Pug Rescue. Ohana received medical care from the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute in Pretoria.

His journey saw him receive scores of messages from people he had inspired and who tracked his recovery via Pug Rescue's Facebook page. Ohana now has his perfect home, is healthy and strong.

'Gay' penguins 

Two male black-footed penguins from DierenPark Amersfoort Zoo in the Netherlands did the unusual when they “stole” an egg from a heterosexual couple who had abandoned it.

According to a news report by Pink News, it wasn't clear if the egg had been fertilised, but the two birds were reportedly taking turns to keep it warm.

The Zoo also announced on its Instagram page that the couple from which the egg was “stolen” had produced another one. It's not unheard of for gay penguins to adopt an egg from a heterosexual couple to raise a chick as their own, but this incident of a couple “stealing” an egg on its own was a first.

Lewis the koala 

After fighting for his life for a week after being rescued from Australian wildfires by Toni Doherty, Lewis the Koala eventually succumbed to his injuries and died, the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie announced on its Facebook page.

“Today we made the decision to put Ellenborough Lewis to sleep. We placed him under the general anaesthesia this morning to assess his burns injuries and change bandages. We recently posted that injuries can get worse before they get better. In Ellenborough Lewis' case, the wounds did get worse and unfortunately would not have gotten better,” it said in its announcement.

Lewis became an internet favourite when a video of him being rescued went viral. The hospital initially said it hoped he would recover but later indicated that his injuries were too severe.

After rescuing the koala, Doherty told Reuters that the back of his legs had been engulfed in flames.