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 for Climate, 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 Climate, Environment and Water, the Hon Susan Close MP.

Contact us here.


Dr Chris West

Chris joined Koala Life as CE in January 2022. A veterinary surgeon and conservationist, he has been CEO of Zoos SA and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland and Zoological Director at London Zoo. He has 25 years of experience in developing integrated conservation programs, interdisciplinary partnerships and ensuring they are sustainable and funded. He has held a number of professorships and board positions. For him the conservation of wild habitats is the end goal using science, ensuring absolute welfare standards, and enlisting wide support through public engagement and education initiatives. He feels strongly that securing a future for koalas is incredibly important for future generations and connecting people with their ancient cultural heritage and values is vital.

Board members

Brian Cunningham (Chair)

Brian has had wide ranging experience as a Chief Executive Officer, leading both private and public sectors organisations in Australia for over 25 years as a CEO. Brian joined the Koala Life Board in July 2019 and has significant experience as a Chair and Non-Executive Director across a diverse range of industries and sectors. His passion for supporting the work of Koala Life is borne from his initial training as an educator (his primary tertiary training discipline was in Zoology) which helped drive his strong environmental and conservation focus.

Sandy Carruthers

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

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.