Weighing less than a bag of sugar, koala joey Dhara is having a check-up.
She and her injured mother were rescued from a Sydney roadside a month ago.
Gently, the vet examines her teeth and eyes. As he lifts her to check her legs and stomach, Dhara chirps briefly.
“She looks great,” says David Phalen, professor of wildlife, health and conservation at Sydney University, before he returns her to her enclosure.
She’s still small enough to try to wriggle inside her mum’s pouch, disappearing into a mass of the soft grey fur.
The pair are some of hundreds of injured koalas tended to by Australia’s largest wildlife rescue organisation, WIRES.
According to figures from the group, koala call-outs in New South Wales rose by 47% between 2017 and 2020.
Now, climate change and rapid urbanisation are putting the whole species under threat in the state.
“This is unprecedented. We’re in tipping point times right now,” Prof Phalen says, “They say ‘death by a thousand cuts’ and…