About us

Supporting science to save an Australian icon

Koala Life formerly known as The International Koala Centre of Excellence (IKCE) is a not-for-profit organisation, established through an Act of State Parliament for the purpose of conservation and research of koalas under the Minister of Environment and Water, South Australia.

The Koala Life Board was established in July 2019 and its first CEO – Chris Daniels was appointed in March 2020. Koala Life is a body corporate established as a subsidiary of the Minister for Environment and Water, the Hon Susan Close MP.

Contact us here.

Director

Dr Chris West

Dr Chris West is a conservationist who has worked in Africa and Australia. Dr West qualified as a veterinary surgeon at the Royal Veterinary College in 1983 and stayed in the Surgery department for two years. He has worked for the Medical Research Council, and ICI/Zeneca Pharmaceuticals before entering the field of zoo conservation. Dr West has had an extraordinary career in leading Zoological institutions, he has been Zoological Director at ZSL, based at London Zoo, and CEO of Zoos South Australia and Edinburgh Zoo. Dr West is excited by current opportunities for science-based conservation partnerships and innovative methods of public engagement.

Board members

Professor Chris Daniels (Chair)

BSc (Hons) PhD DSc FAICD

Chris is a zoologist with over 40 years experience. He holds adjunct professorships at University of Adelaide and University of South Australia. He has held senior leadership roles in a wide range of government and community organisations. Chris is actively involved with nature conservation and urban sustainability. Chris was the Director of Cleland Wildlife Park for almost two years. He is focused on conserving wildlife and connecting people with nature.

Professor Kris Helgen (Deputy Chair)

Kristofer Helgen is a professor of biological sciences and deputy director of applied conservation at the University of Adelaide.

Sandy Carruthers

Executive Director, Strategy, Science and Corporate Services, and Chief Information Officer, at the Department for Environment and Water SA.

Brian Cunningham

25 years experience as a Chief Executive in both the private and public sectors in Australia and has wide ranging experience in leading and managing successful organizations over that time.

Susie Herzberg OAM

Susie Herzberg OAM has worked as an urban, environmental and strategic planner in government, in private practice and at the University of Adelaide. Ms Herzberg is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. She is past Chair of the Board of the Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium, and served on boards including South Australian Housing Trust, Patawalonga Water Catchment Management Board, KESAB Environmental Solutions, Nature Foundation SA, State Cycling Council and Playford Memorial Trust. Ms Herzberg has business experience as former Managing Partner of Manyara Vineyard, and as director of several private companies.

David Robinson

David Robinson joined Phillips Henderson Ward HSBC in July 1987, a predecessor firm to Morgan Stanley. Mr Robinson’s knowledge of the financial services industry is expansive. In a career of more than 25 years, he has covered virtually all aspects from back office functions to research and management roles. In 1996, Mr Robinson designed an investor education course titled 'Understanding Share Investments' where materials are still in use by industry organisations today. Mr
Robinson specialises in family and intergenerational planning, with an additional interest in advising philanthropic and not for profit organisations.

Susan Harrington

Susan Harrington is a documentary maker, broadcast journalist, PR consultant and magazine writer. Former roles include: TV News Senior Producer; Reporter and Chief-of-Staff roles at Channel 9, Channel 7 and ABC, (Adelaide). Ms Harrington lived and worked in London for a total of six years, reporting for Visnews, BBC and Reuters Television and has been an award-winning writer at Adelaide Hills Magazine. Ms Harrington is now working as a consultant, specialising in directing and producing videos for broadcast or corporate use.

Research Manager

Dr Ian Hough

Dr Ian Hough is arguably Australia’s most knowledgeable and experienced Koala veterinarian. He has worked at Zoos SA, Cleland Wildlife Park and in private practice for over 35 years. Ian was also senior lecturer in veterinary nursing at TAFESA for over 25 years. Ian has been actively involved in a number of research projects into marsupials, and has recently published on oxalate nephrosis. Ian will supervise the breeding program at Cleland and co-ordinate the research program.

Reports & documents

View our reports and documents here.