Skip to Main Content

The 99th Koala

Rescue and resilience on Kangaroo Island

After bushfires devastated Kangaroo Island's koala population, Kailas Wild went to help. This is the inspiring and sometimes confronting story of what happened next.

An arborist by trade and conservationist at heart, when Kai heard that some of the injured koalas could only be reached by a tree climber, he drove 1500 kilometres to volunteer.

Seven weeks later, he had participated in the rescue of over 100 koalas, become an international social media sensation and formed a special bond with a baby koala – Joey Kai.

In words and pictures, The 99th Koala shares Kai's experience and introduces us to some of the koalas of Kangaroo Island. Sometimes tragic, sometimes hopeful, above all Kai’s story commemorates our unique wildlife, and demonstrates the power of one person trying to make a difference.

‘At a time when many people have felt helpless to act against the immensity of the fires or the threat of climate change, Kai's daily descriptions and videos of saving helpless animals have been a welcome dose of personal courage and deep humanity.’ ABC

'In words and photos that are impossible to look away from, Kai introduces some of the koalas on Kangaroo Island, painting a powerful picture of Australia's unique wildlife ... a gripping reminder of a summer that feels like it's in our country's distant memory.' Mamamia

'Harrowing, touching and uplifting.' The Courier Mail

'The 99th Koala is a plea for wildlife, it's a tribute to the volunteers who strive to save animals and rehabilitate them. It's an emotional rollercoaster that shows the devastation and damage ... but it's a tale of love and dedication.' Good Reading

Photograph © Bree Day

Kailas Wild is a climbing arborist, conservationist, wildlife rescuer and surrogate father to the orphaned koala Joey Kai. He lives in NSW.