SYDNEY (AFP) - Social media sensation Jeremy the koala, who was rescued by firefighters after his paws were badly burnt in a bushfire in Australia's south, has been released back into the wild, his carers said Friday.
The three-year-old male was named after Country Fire Service volunteer Jeremy Sparrow, who was helping to battle a huge blaze in the Adelaide Hills in early January when he came across the injured marsupial.
Jeremy was brought to a treatment centre, and an image showing the four damaged paws - which had second-degree burns - submerged in buckets to aid their recovery quickly went viral online.
"It was fantastic, textbook. He responded well to treatment," Aaron Machado, the president of the Australian Marine Wildlife Research and Rescue Organisation which runs the clinic, told AFP.
"He was able to climb trees and forage, as one would except him to do in the wild.
"He passed all of those tests, so he was eligible for release, so an appropriate release was found within a kilometre of where he was initially rescued from." Jeremy was among six koalas being cared for by the clinic following the bushfires, which razed 12,500 hectares of scrub and farmland east of Adelaide, Machado said.
While he made a good recovery, several others were less lucky and had to be euthanised because of the severity of their injuries, he added.
South Australian state authorities say the fire conditions were the worst in the area since the "Ash Wednesday" blazes in 1983, when more than 70 people in South Australia and adjacent Victoria state lost their lives and thousands of properties were destroyed.