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Jeremy The Koala, Rescued From Australian Brush Fire, Goes Home

Jeremy the koala — who became a social-media sensation after a photo went viral showing him recuperating from injuries sustained in an Australian wildfire — is being released back into the wild.

The three-year-old male koala, nicknamed after his rescuer, was removed from the Adelaide Hills in South Australia after a massive brush fire swept through the area. His paws had been burned and he was badly in need of treatment.

Jeremy Sparrow, the Paracombe County Fire Service volunteer firefighter who rescued the koala, is quoted by Adelaide's Channel 7 news as saying the animal "was sitting there, just looking at me and needed some help."

Sparrow said the koala protested a bit when he was wrapped in a towel and brought back to the unit's fire truck.

"I think he knew that help was on the way," Sparrow was quoted by the Australian station as saying.

Channel 7 reports that the koala's paws were soaked, treated and bandaged for several weeks. He was then placed with the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organization.

The BBC quotes AMWRRO President Aaron Machado as saying Jeremy (the koala, not the firefighter) has made a complete recovery.

"The only thing he has to do now is get used to not having any more room service," Machado told the BBC.

Jeremy was one of the lucky ones. Sparrow says "There's been an awful lot of [injured animals] that we have had to put down."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.