Loud bellows ring out from a small pocket of forest surrounded by dense suburbs and busy roads in Brisbane, Australia. It’s mating season for koalas. Their thunderous roars are difficult to reconcile with the familiar perception of them as cuddly creatures. But it turns out their world is in fact far from cute and cuddly. It is filled with social pressure, conflict, disease, overcrowding and the external stresses of living in the middle of what amounts to an alien world. Predominantly slow-moving, energy-conserving koalas are not exactly well-equipped to handle speeding traffic and packs of dogs, or the consequences of encroaching urbanization.
Nature enters the world of urban koalas trying to adapt to life in the fast lane. Cracking the Koala Code premieres Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7 p.m. on KUED. The film explores the day-to-day dramas of an extended family of koalas, seen through the eyes of the scientists studying their every move and vocalization. Fascinating social dynamics include territorial displays, vicious fighting and the surprising life and loves of a “traveling salesman,” a rogue male who truly plays the field. New science even “cracks the koala communication code,” providing insights into their basic language and social structure.
“People love koalas, yet there is a great deal about them they would find surprising,” said Fred Kaufman, series executive producer and recently named recipient of International Wildlife Film Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award. “Koalas may seem docile and sweet, but they are really quite active and can be very aggressive and loud. Viewers will get a whole new perspective after watching this film.”
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