Koala: A Natural History and an Uncertain Future (Hardcover)
A New Scientist Best Popular Science Book of 2023
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.
— Kirkus Reviews
Entertaining…[An] insightful peek into the world of koalas…[T]his is the thing animal lovers didn't know they needed.
— Publishers Weekly
Leaving no stone unturned, Koala makes great strides to advance our knowledge of this largely misunderstood animal.
This is the book I've been waiting for—for 40 years.
— Sy Montgomery, author of The Hawk's Way and The Soul of an Octopus
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
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 Sounds Wild and Broken and The Songs 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
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