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Boonda, a new baby koala, makes his first public appearance at a wildlife park in Sydney under the protective guard of his mother.

Picture: Cameron Richardson / Rex Features

Sam Gilchrist, a veterinarian at Sydney Wildlife World, said that first-time mum Elle and six-month-old baby Boonda had already formed a close relationship.

“It’s a really important time, the first six months of the life for a koala. We really try to preserve that mother-joey bond. It’s really important that it is preserved,” said Gilchrist.

He added: “Because Elle is a first time mum, she’s proven to be a great mum, and we’re really happy that that first six months are out of the way.”

In Australia an estimated 43,000 koalas remain in the wild, their numbers having dropped significantly due to the encroachment of towns, farms and roads into their natural habitats.

Boonda hugs his mother as she eats eucalyptus leaves.

More Boonda pictures: (AFP)


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