Kai Wild joins the koalas conservations efforts

Kai has been on the island for more than two weeks, saving 35 koalas. Photo: @kalaiswild

Kai has been on the island for more than two weeks, saving 35 koalas. Photo: @kalaiswild

Kai Wild has a very particular set of skills.

He is a qualified arborist and climbing expert, State Emergency Services volunteer and has koala capture and rehabilitation experience.

When he heard that his skills could be beneficial to the many displaced and injured koalas on Kangaroo Island, Kai jumped in his car and drove 19 hours from his home in Sydney, NSW.

Having been on the island for over two weeks now, Kai was not prepared for the conditions that he would encounter.

"For the last two weeks I've almost cried every day," he revealed.

"It's that traumatic out here and just recognising that it's only a fraction of what other people have experienced obviously.

"There's something about walking around burn forest looking for koalas that really messes with you."

Kai said he was encouraged to create a GoFundMe page so that people could support his efforts. The page has now generated more than $30,000 in donations.

These funds have been able to do more than just cover Kai's immediate costs.

"I've actually been able to pay to try and increase the capacity to be able to respond to this, so I've paid for someone to fly in to Kangaroo Island to bring a spare ute," he said.

"They're someone with tree climbing experience, experience with coordination and facilitation.

"They've got no ego, can work in really high stress environments and I know them very well and I trust them with my life."

After initially getting in touch with the Kangaroos Island Wildlife Park and Hospital, Kai set out to assist the ongoing effort to save the local wildlife.

His combination of climbing, wildlife and emergency services experience has enabled him to help out in ways that other volunteers cannot.

"Climbing makes all the difference to be honest," Kai said.

"For example, they might be on the top of a tree and if you can get up to the tree next to it then you can flag it down."

At time of print he has saved about 35 koalas and thanked people for their financial and emotional support.

He plans to stay on the island for at least another month as the team continues to grapple with the scale of the damage.

"We're mapping out all the remaining bits of trees are and where all the koalas are and we're going to find out just exactly what we're responding to," he said.

"It's kind of evolving into something a bit more."