What is Episode 129 all about?
When you think of Australia, what are the first wild images that come to mind? Surely, vivid images of The Great Barrier Reef, vast desert and bushland, kangaroos, and flightless birds flashed before you. I’m sure you also saw an image of Australia’s most famous animal – the koala. With an animal as well known as the koala, I have to ask, how much do you actually know about this species? Is their reputation as lazy animals warranted? Why do they feed almost exclusively on toxic Eucalypt leaves? How do they find each other during the breeding season? Do their populations differ from one region to another? What does the future look like for this most iconic of species? You probably have a guess for each question, but how do you know for sure?
I know I personally had a long list of stereotypical views about koalas and had my own guesses for each question. But now, I can confidently say that I’m a borderline koala expert after reading a new book just released called Koala: A Natural History and an Uncertain Future, and the author of this book is the guest of today’s episode.
Today we are sitting down with Danielle Clode, PhD, Conservation Biologist and Author. After leaving Oxford with a fresh PhD in hand, Danielle decided to use her education and communication skills to become a science writer. Since then, she’s written several books about all sorts of topics, but felt inspired to write a comprehensive story about the well-known, but commonly misunderstood, koala. While there are countless children’s books about koalas, previously there weren’t any in-depth, scientifically sound books about the species, and Danielle has filled this important gap with Koala.
Danielle and I discuss the inspiration for her book, misconceptions about koalas and the biological reasonings for their behavior, top threats koalas are facing, the devastating Black Summer fires of 2019, the difficulties of writing a book during a pandemic and subsequent lockdowns, tips to take your scientific communication to a new level, and her hopes for the future.
Also, I want to remind you of the Rewildology Listener Meet-Up! I’m working on the next big phase of the show and I want to hear from you. I’m planning an hour of picking your brain, hearing what you love about the show, what can be improved, ideas for future episodes, listening to your stories, and enjoying a tasty beverage together. Don’t worry – joining this meet-up won’t cost you anything. The meet-up will happen via Google Meets at 6 PM ET / 3 PM PT on May 16th. If you’d like to join, please let me know by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or sending me a DM on Instagram or Twitter @Rewildology. I can’t wait to meet you!
Alright, everyone. Please enjoy this conversation with Danielle.
Listen to this episode.
Watch this episode on YouTube.
Danielle in the Field
Links & Resources
Koala: A Natural History and an Uncertain Future
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