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Koala to Firefighter: I Won't Tap That!

2/10/2009 3:01 PM PST BY TMZ STAFF

After battling some of the worst wildfires ever to hit Australia, a firefighter shared his bottled water with a pampered koala on Monday.

Afterwards the new friends went to Pilates and dined on sushi.


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That is the most pathetic attempt at humour I've ever seen. Sort your jokes out and try and come up with something amusing or forget it altogether. It reeks of desperation.

2059 days ago

discusted reader    

u guys are a bunch of idiots

2052 days ago

Appalled Reader    

Just like the comment above from alle i have never heard of TMZ until i got the link on facebook and after reading this appalling comment posted by TMZ and all the other disheartening comments posted i will never view this website again, Like many comments made back to TMZ us Australians grieved with you when the tragedy of the twin towers happened but i guess that's the difference of Australian humor compared to American humor we don't joke about losing lives and wildlife.


2045 days ago


Are you people just complete idiots????????? 200 people just died in these fires moron. Did you ever stop to think of that?? I hope one day you come to Australia and a Koala scratches your eyes balls out !!!

2075 days ago


This just shows how cruel people can be. Over 200 people have lost their lives, thousands have lost their homes and so many wild animals are now homeless. If someone from another country did the same thing to your country lets say about something terrible like 911, lets see how you would all react.
This is LOW guys, just plain low.
Grow up.

2075 days ago


You guys are completely disgusting. Do you know how many people have died? How many homes have been lost? Is there nothing else out there for you to make fun of? Clearly not. Maybe try constructing some news items that are exactly that - news. Not a bunch of fools making fun of a natural disaster. Hmm?

2075 days ago


the one good thing that has come from your news piece is that so many people have gotten on the bandwagon to tell you out of line you are. Seriously. Who said 'yes, lets put this on the website...people may thing we are amusing'. No. You are small-minded, humourless idiots. I hope the person who composed the 'article' is reading this - maybe you should hop on a plane and come out here and meet some of the people who have been devastated by this fire. Better yet, lets put you in a room with Sam the koala - when she's not thirsty she's not so friendly. You truly are a fool. I feel sorry for you if this is what you think is amusing. I also hope your boss is reading this...or were they in on the 'fun'? I can only hope there was only one complete idiot involved and not more than one. That is concerning. Just a thought - perhaps a more considered apology and oh, I dont know, a donation to the bush fire appeal, may assuage some people's opinions of your insignificant website.

Best wishes :)

2075 days ago

Aimee - homeless in aus    

america, the problem is that you have no compassion, not even for your own people.. where were you all when hurricane katrina hit? from the way it was reported no one cared. its a bit different here is australia, we care for our fellow poeple. this is why you will never understand how much you have hurt us by these uncompassionate comments. I think this site is a fair representation of most of america.. every american i have met here in Aus (stop calling it OZ) has the exact same attitude. i just wish you could understand how much you have hurt us, really hurt us with this. but you just dont care. so i dont care about you anymore america, im sorry but i cant care for people who wont even care for their own. you really need a serious attitude shift.
dont write back to this with all your american attitude, ecause you're just wrong on this, wrong, everything you say is wrong on this topic so just stop it.

2075 days ago

Adrian from Australia    

Good to see our little ol Broke Back Mountain Boy (BBMB) American in oz (by the way boy, you aint earnt the right to use the termonology oz just yet) is still with us, I thought you and Scott B might be up in the hills somewhere doing it doggy style, barking your little heads off, howling at the moon, doing a little cox sucking and even maybe, you might have your moms up there because everyone knows what you red neck boys do to your moms because your the ones always calling each other mfcs (this being the case, there could been some substance to this name calling yer hear) .

Tell us agin, why did you come over to oz, your butt having trouble healing. Needed some emu oil. Man all you had to do was ask us and we would have sent some. We understand why you would need it, over here we use emu oil on sores, scabs , open wounds, cuts and things full of puss.

So, after reading all you smart alec wise cracks and snipes, me and the boys, well we have decided everytime we see your pathetic little sign off as American in Oz (by the way is that the name of your dog) well my little woolly woofter friend, we are gunna stick it where (I suppose before we do that we would have to put a leg of ham up there first and remove the bone) the son don't shine. You get the message boy.

So if you want to continue with all this sniping crap you've be doing, we can assure you yankee doodle boy, we's are gunna finish it, you all understand that boy. The only way we won't do nuthin is, be nice. OK

To all other Americans we accept your apology re dopey overhere and furthermore, we appreciate your comments, compassion and support, but you will have to excuse us as we have a pain in the butt distraction here at the moment and that is why we haven't taken to the little sucker (ha ha) you guys sent us.

By the way little ol BBMB no more crap about US or Australian military, I would say that the closest you would have been to the military is when a Starlifter (thats a plane boy) flys overhead going to Afghanistan.

So, do your self a favour, be nice or shut the f,,k up

2075 days ago


You should be ashamed of yourselves, this is the worst natural disaster that Australia has ever seen. This is one of the few images of hope and you make fun of it, I wish I was as witty and as funny as you guys.

2075 days ago

Adrian from Australia    

Be fore any one makes any more comments. Please read the following then you can all shut up.

An apology for Sam the koala but rescue not what it seemed [Sam the koala] [Sam the koala on the mend]
11:03AM Friday Feb 13, 2009
By Eveline Jenkins

Sam the koala sprang to international fame after Victoria's bushfires, but the fuller details are now emerging. Photo / AP

Sam, the most famous koala in the world, is likely oblivious to the interest in her since she was rescued from a charred section of bush in Victoria last week.

The small marsupial with scorched paws became a symbol of hope following the devastating fires in the region, which have so far claimed more than 180 lives.

But the tale of the koala's survival is not exactly what it seemed.

The footage which has captured the world's attention - of volunteer firefighter David Tree feeding Sam water from a bottle - was in fact filmed prior to the deadly bush fires, during a preventative backburning operation in a fire at Delburn the previous week.

Tree says he only took the video to show his daughter and feels overwhelmed by the international interest that has ensued.

"I emailed the photos out to a few people to cheer them up. And it's just snowballed from there," he told Melbourne's Age newspaper.

"It's just gotten so out of control, I definitely wasn't up for it. My head's spinning. I'm having a hard time dealing with it ... Mentally ... it's just, wow. I'm really outside my comfort zone."

The now famous photo of CFA firefighter David Tree sharing his water with Sam. It is now known this was taklen prior to last week's deadly fires. Photo / AP

The now famous photo of CFA firefighter David Tree sharing his water with Sam. It is now known this was taklen prior to last week's deadly fires.

Tree, who has since been invited to appear on American chatshows and to give international media interviews, said he never meant to deceive anyone but that he was pleased Sam's story gave people a distraction "amidst all the tragedy".

"I think it happened about a week and a half ago, but you'll have to bear with me - I'm losing track of the days," he told the Age.

"I think people needed a release. I think that's why they've related to the koala so much."

2075 days ago


Lighten up people this is an awesome photo and TMZ just made some lighthearted comments. Grow up would ya how is this offensive to the victims I have no idea - just a world where everyone is becoming too PC if you ask me!

2074 days ago

proud aussie    

FIrst off, Yank and proud, the interviews that i have seen David Tree giving sounds very different to what you say. The koalas paws are burnt and shes in a lot of pain. Davids hands are wet and as a result they are cold. Sam has her paws in Davids hand to ease that pain and soothe the burns. He didnt take the video, his daughter did long after the fire had been through there. They were checking for any wildlife that may need help and to make sure nothing was smouldering, they also had wildlife officers with them. They do not do backburns until they check for any wildlife that is in harms way. Our fireys are professional and the best and they dont go around burning animals. When California was burning who do you think flew over there to not only help but to educate your fireys on how to deal with those types of fires? OUR firefighters. Who sends fireys here to be trained? YOUR country. Now YOU shut up!

To the few americans who actually have compassion and who can see past their own self importance. Thank you for your well wishes and for having a heart. It is appreciated.

To the many americans who are self centred, ignorant and egotistical. Thank you for showing the world once again why you are so hated. You do your country proud!

To the vics. We will get through this together and you all know too well what Australia is capable of in times of tragedy and hardship. We unite and now is no different. Keep your chins up, be strong for your children and let us be strong for you. :)

2074 days ago

Adrian from Australia    

Sorry People, it is a true story and this is how it appears on google.

Koala footage not what it seems
David Tree giving water to koala Sam during bushfires.

David Tree giving water to koala Sam during bushfires.
Photo: Russell Vickery

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Prue Vincent
February 12, 2009

* Video Thirsty Koala gets a drink
* Love in a time of bushfires: a koala's story


"Koala Man" Dave Tree woke up this morning to find he'd made front-page news across the globe.

NBC, Fox, CNN, even Ellen Degeneres have been on the phone, propelling Mr Tree into the spotlight.

Unfortunately nobody appears to have asked the relevant question "When was this video filmed?"

The video of the Mirboo North resident stroking a singed koala was actually taken in the week leading up to the deadliest bushfires in Australian history, during preventative backburning operations.

The video shows Mr Tree feeding water from a bottle to the koala, now universally known as "Sam". The wounded animal also rests its paw on Mr Tree's hand.

Now Mr Tree has become a household name from London to Los Angeles, but he says all the media interest has taken its toll.

"I think it happened about a week and a half ago, but you'll have to bear with me – I'm losing track of the days.

"I've had all these phone calls for interviews, I've lost contact. I can't get my head around it. I don't think it's finished yet.

"But if Oprah Winfrey called and wanted me to come over to be on her show, I'd have to say No – I'm terrified of flying. I can't get in a plane.

Mr Tree says there was no intention to deceive the public or court publicity and fame.

He says he only took the video to show his daughter.

"I emailed the photos out to a few people to cheer them up. And it's just snowballed from there.

"It's just gotten so out of control. I definitely wasn't up for it. My head's spinning. I'm having a hard time dealing with it. Mentally it's just, wow. I'm really outside my comfort zone.

"I'm a country boy. I live in a small town of 1800.

"If people see it as a distraction and a good news story amid all the tragedy we're going through, then that's great."

Despite the time-lag, the photographs of Mr Tree stroking Sam have come to symbolise the plight of native animals left homeless after thousands of hectares of bushland burnt.

"At first she was really wary, then she just plonked down and it was like, 'You're a big predator, but I'm sore, I'm beat, I'm done.' She was in pain. And she just looked up at me. So I yelled out for the bottle of water. And she started lapping it up."

Mr Tree was reunited with Sam after she'd been taken to the Mountain Ash Wildlife Shelter for bandaging.

"It was great to see her again. She had a sniff and I got a bit up close and personal, and I even got a bit choked up.

"So I got in there and got a few happy snaps but I had to bail because I was getting a bit choked up.

Mr Tree is full of praise for the CFA and DSE's work.

"I don't think there's a word in the English vocabulary that sums up the work these guys are doing. The CFA is a massive family. If one stands we all stand, if one falls, we all fall.

"We got off scot-free in our hometown. My heart goes out to those guys out there still fighting. It's just tragic what's happened.

"So many people have cried over it and I think people needed a release. I think that's why they've related to the koala so much."

So there you go.

Wasn't meant to deceive anyone, the koala was burnt and contrary to popular belief of some people, fire fighters do back burning to reduce the threat from fire. The animal was not burnt because of the back burning, it was burnt as a result of a bush fire that CFA were trying to contain and part of the containment and hazard reduction was to back burn.

So everyone a happy ending.

So who are the fools now, TMZ because they were conned by Australians (even though unintentional).

Adrian Dayboro QLD

2074 days ago

Adrian from Australia    



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2074 days ago
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