The 99th Koala - Kalia Wild

The 99th Koala - Kalia Wild

In last summer’s devastating fires, Kangaroo Island lost half of its koala population, with many more left injured and starving. This is the inspiring and sometimes confronting story of someone who went to help and ended up a koala dad.
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A veterinarians passion for Koalas - Dr Claire Madden

A veterinarians passion for Koalas - Dr Claire Madden

For me, I always knew I would be working with animals, from a young child I always had a deep-seated affinity for wildlife. It didn’t take me long to develop a love for our incredible Australian native animals.
My journey to becoming a veterinarian.
Upon finishing high school I completed a Bachelor of Science majoring in wildlife biology. I then undertook an Honours research project looking at the reproductive status of the short-beaked echidna. This research was conducted in conjunction with The University of Queensland and the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon completion of my research year, I was employed by the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary as a koala keeper. From there the appreciation for Phascolarctos cinereus (aka our adorable koala) began. 
I worked as a zoo keeper until my mid twenties when I had a burning desire to go back and study to further my capabilities for wildlife conservation. It was at this point that I applied for Vet school. During my Veterinary studies I immersed myself in the zoo and wildlife field utilising the contacts I had established as a zoo keeper. This was partially to learn as much about this topic which wasn’t heavily covered at vet school, but secondly because I felt so disconnected from the animals during the 5 years completing the Vet degree.
Since becoming a qualified veterinarian, I have been lucky to secure some incredible roles within the Zoo & Wildlife field. Each of which have enabled me to develop and grow my skill set and knowledge for Koalas. One thing that I learnt very quickly is that Koalas are very unique. Not just in their anatomy and physiology but they are unique in their individual response to treatments, their individual response to diseases and more challenging diagnostic tests as our day to day tests are not always validated for koalas. I have treated many koala cases to date for a whole range of clinical problems from trauma right through to cancer and I am yet to have two cases that have behaved the same.
Why are koalas so important? 
Aside from the fact that they are so damn cute, they are pivotal to our ecosystems, they are an Australian icon and more importantly, no Australian animal should go extinct under our watch. With the recent bushfires we have experienced earlier this year, it has become evident more than ever that the koala is undoubtedly an Australian icon that is recognised around the world.
My experience of the 2019/20 bushfires?
Currently I am employed by Village Roadshow on the Gold Coast where I get to look after the expansive native collection at Paradise Country. They were gracious in sending myself and a nurse to Adelaide earlier in the year to undertake work assisting with the bushfire crisis. It was such an honour to share my Koala knowledge with local vets who otherwise had little to no Koala experience.
South Australia was hit really hard by the recent bushfires and to date when I think about my time in there, it still brings tears to my eyes. I felt like my lifetime goal to conserve and protect Koalas were all brought down in shatters before my eyes. From my childhood aspirations, to my wildlife biology degree right though to becoming a vet, all I ever set out to do was to contribute to wildlife conservation. Instead here I was standing in a massive hall with over 100 injured and dying koalas before my eyes. Previous roles have seen me dedicated tireless hours/weeks/months to release a single koala back out into the wild and yet here I was with over 100 koalas before me needing that exact care. It was an impossibility and a heart wrenching sight.
My hopes.
Onwards and upwards, what is in the past is in the past. We can only now look to the future and ensure it contains healthy Koala populations across the eastern coast of Australia and South Australia. I will not stop, and I know I am not alone in my dedication to the plight to conserve Koala populations
There is nothing more soothing then the smell of a mature male koala, nothing more impressive than a large koala bellow, and nothing quite like a big squishy koala cuddle.
Dr Claire Madden
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Amaroo Aus - Why? Our story 🐨

Amaroo Aus - Why? Our story 🐨

My love of animals has been with me from a very young age, but my mission to help native Australian wildlife was born in December 2019.
After a nasty accident and emergency by-pass surgery, I was bed ridden in hospital for quite some time. My stay in hospital coincided with the devastating bushfires, and i was shocked and saddened by the destruction caused. These bushfires had a massive impact on local communities along the east coast and South Australia. Homes and businesses were burnt to the ground, people died and eco systems were destroyed.
My life was now a little different, living with one arm I decided I would set up Amaroo to help from behind my laptop. I had visited Port Macquarie Koala hospital only eleven months before my accident and was amazed by the work they do. Run by a team of dedicated volunteers, giving their time to help rescue, rehabilitate and re-release Koalas. Entry was free and i wondered at the time how they funded this special animal hospital. Ultimately, these organisations are run from the donations of the generous public.
I've been a long time donar of the WWF and a couple of other charities, but i've always found transferring money to a charity online was quite an empty experience. You press send, you get a thank you email letter and then you go on with your day, feeling happy with yourself for the next few hours.
At Amaroo we wanted to give animal lovers a more fulfilling experience. We thought i was be nice to design custom handmade Australian and Koala related jewellery, so people could wear their support. You recieve beautiful pieces in the post and get that constant gratification everytime you wear your jewellery.
We aim to be as transparent as possible. Amaroo was set up as a socially good company, with profits going to where they truly belong. If we can help save just one Koala, i would be happy, but my goals and dreams are much bigger than that.
My dream is to donate $100,000 by the end of 2021, whilst planting over 10,000 trees to create a mini Amaroo forest. The destruction of wildlife habitats in Australia is very real, an area the size of the u.k was destroyed in the past year. We want to save hundreds of Koalas and educate the world on the battle we face to save them
If our mission is something that you also believe in, please sign up to our newsletter, today. We will regularly update our followers on what organisations we will be helping, and the amazing work they do. Stay up to date on the trees we will be planting to help fight deforestation and to educate people on the battle we face to save our beloved Koalas from extinction.
If you have anything you would like to ask me about Amaroo Aus, please reach out to my personal email at i would love to hear from you. Also please get in touch if you can help our mission in any way possible.
Wear your support for Australian wildlife, let's make a difference.
Thank you for reading, i appreciate your time and support.
kind regards,
Danny Dickin
Amaroo Aus
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