Koala: The Extraordinary Life of an Enigmatic Animal (Paperback)

Koala: The Extraordinary Life of an Enigmatic Animal By Danielle Clode Cover Image
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Winner of the 2023 Whitley Award for Popular Ecology

A New Scientist Best Popular Science Book of the Year

"This is the book I’ve been waiting for." —Sy Montgomery, author of The Soul of an Octopus

An Australian biologist delves into the extraordinary world of koalas, from their ancient ancestors to the current threats to their survival.

Koalas regularly appeared in Australian biologist Danielle Clode’s backyard, but it was only when a bushfire threatened that she truly paid them attention. She soon realized how much she had to learn about these complex and mysterious animals.

In vivid, descriptive prose, Clode embarks on a delightful and surprising journey through evolutionary biology, natural history, and ecology to understand where these enigmatic animals came from and what their future may hold. She begins her search with the fossils of ancient giant koalas, delving into why the modern koala has become the lone survivor of a once-diverse family of uniquely Australian marsupials.

Koala investigates the remarkable physiology of these charismatic creatures. Born the size of tiny “jellybeans,” joeys face an uphill battle, from crawling into their mother’s pouch to being weaned onto a toxic diet of gum-tree leaves, the koalas’ single source of food.

Clode explores the complex relationship and unexpected connections between this endearing species and humans. She explains how koalas are simultaneously threatened with extinction in some areas due to disease, climate change, and increasing wildfires, while overpopulating forests in other parts of the country.

Deeply researched and filled with wonder, Koala is both a tender and inquisitive paean to a species unlike any other and a call to ensure its survival.

About the Author

Danielle Clode is a biologist and an award-winning author. Her books include Killers in Eden, Voyage to the South Seas, and The Wasp and the Orchid, which was shortlisted for Australia’s National Biography Award. She lives in the Adelaide Hills, South Australia.

Praise For…

Danielle Clode conjures up a disconcerting prehistoric vision of giant koalas, before assessing the modem population's plight in the face of habitat loss, highly contagious retroviruses and climate change.
— Simon Ings - New Scientist

A vividly written and thoroughly researched celebration of the lives of koalas. Filled with fascinating and often surprising information, the book is also an invitation to honor and protect these extraordinary animals.
— David George Haskell, author of the Pulitzer Prize–finalist Sounds Wild and Broken

The tree-dwelling koala is one of Australia’s most iconic species, yet it is threatened by habitat loss. Danielle Clode, a natural storyteller, has written an insightful book that deepens our understanding of this fascinating animal and highlights the urgency of its survival.
— Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees

Koala is a winner in many different arenas. Their story, like that of so many other animals, warns us that we are unrelentingly and irreversibly destroying our magnificent planet and the only way forward to save koalas, other animals including humans, and all of our homes, is to strive for peaceful coexistence grounded in compassion, respect, and kindness. Easily readable, with a welcomed personal touch, I highly recommend this book.

— Marc Bekoff, author of A Dog's World

Leaving no stone unturned, Koala makes great strides to advance our knowledge of this largely misunderstood animal.

— BookPage

An impassioned and informed plea for the conservation of Australia’s flora, fauna, and wild places. This is natural history and science writing at its best.
— Peter Menkhorst - Australian Book Review

Charming and intelligent…A vivid journey into a fascinating corner of the natural world.
— Kirkus Reviews

Entertaining…[An] insightful peek into the world of koalas…[T]his is the outing animal lovers didn't know they needed.
— Publishers Weekly

Product Details
ISBN: 9781324074496
ISBN-10: 1324074493
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: January 16th, 2024
Pages: 336
Language: English