South Australia bushfire recovery: Jeremy the koala released into the wild

The furry face of the toll taken on wildlife by January’s Adelaide Hills bushfire is back on his home range after recovering from burns and dehydration

A koala named Jeremy who became the face and burnt paws of the recent Adelaide Hills bushfires has been successfully treated and released back into the wild.

Jeremy gained international attention after a picture of him, face down and with his scalded paws immersed in containers of sodium chloride, was shared on social media.

His namesake, Country Fire Service volunteer Jeremy Sparrow, rescued the three-year-old koala as fires tore through the Adelaide Hills earlier this month.

Weighing just 10.8kg, dehydrated and suffering burns to each of his four paws, Jeremy the koala was in a perilous state but was rehabilitated successfully at the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation base in Port Melbourne.

Following three weeks of treatment, Jeremy was released back into the wild on Wednesday evening, just 1km from where he was found.

“He was going up and down trees, foraging and doing very well,” Aaron Machado, president of AMWRRO, told Guardian Australia. “When we got him, he was obviously not in a good way, he was in a lot of pain and we stabilized him with the emergency triage treatment he required.”

Jeremy’s wounds were dressed every two days and he managed to put on 850g during his time in treatment.

“He was grumpy for the first week but after that he was a normal koala that needed to get his body condition back,” Machado said. “He’d absolutely smash his leaf every night.

“His paws and feet have recovered and the affected area has regrown. His job now is to go and eat and have babies. Finding a female is going to be the hardest part, unfortunately.”


Oliver Milman

The GuardianTramp

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