Cracking the Koala Code
Introduction

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 these complex choruses of bellows and grunts have become invaluable for those striving to learn more about the species.

Watch a preview of Cracking the Koala Code:

Cracking the Koala Code 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. Biologists Dr. Bill Ellis and Sean Fitzgibbon are engaged in ground-breaking science sponsored by the San Diego Zoo. Using 3G solar-powered mobile phones to record koala vocalizations, and applying their recordings in the field to evoke koala responses, they have managed to decipher some of the koalas’ communications. These “cracks” in the koala communication code have provided new insights into the basic language and social structure of these marsupials who are dealing with social pressure, conflict, disease, and the external stresses of living in an increasingly urbanized world. Cracking the Koala Code premieres May 16, 2012.

  • Chris

    Why don’t you redo the narration for this so that it is easy on US ears: use a MAN and someone who has a US accent. I was sufficiently annoyed by the female with an Austrialian accent that I turned off the sound and watched the pictures. Another complaint is that there was too much filiming of the people doing the filming. I wanted to see the Koalas, not the filmers.

  • Leah

    I loved this program! Excellent research and conservation information, and it gives a real current view of the challenges facing this species today. I love the narrator and her accent is a perfect reminder of the setting for the film.

  • Bob

    I think requesting a US voice is a little ridiculous. Have you ever heard David Attenborough’s specials and thought the narration was bad? I almost always find regional accents to be a nice addition to any special.

  • Susan Rogers

    A fascinating account with the perfect mix of science and interest. It is always good to get the full scope of the programme from the filmmakers to the subject matter. Provides a solid grounding to the story arc. In this case I learned a lot about Koala’s that I didn’t know…most importantly the encroachment on their society. Let us hope that this film gets wide viewing, or this may be one of the last films made of koalas.

  • David

    Nature is one of my favorite PBS television shows. It is excellent in HD. I use to watch it via cable in HD, but I decided to get rid of cable and now use Amazon Prime and Hulu Plus. Any chance these will be put on the PBS website in HD?

  • jakc

    I loved this program! Excellent research and conservation information, and it gives a real current view of the challenges facing this species today. I love the narrator and her accent is a perfect reminder of the setting for the film.

  • Bronwyn Morris

    Just in response to the suggestion of using a US voice. As an Australian having been exposed to the ‘lilting’ sounds of the US accent for almost 50 years, I say it’s your turn to suffer!! Anyway, on a more serious note; the Australian koala population is dwindling at an alarming rate. I think, maybe, perhaps, finally some Australians are sitting up and taking note. A combination of land clearing (housing, industrial, agricultural) and chlamidiya has resulted in the population severly declining to an endangered level.

  • Peter

    Loved the program but had difficulty hearing the dialogue covered up by the music. Missed about 1/2 of what was said. Happens on most nature programs and tend to shy away from them because the music is much too loud. Either that or the dialogue is too quiet. Either way it’s much too annoying. Peter

  • Yobbo

    Expecting a male US v/o is bizarre… that’d make no sense. She’s doing a great job. Nice melody and tone. As an Aussie I just wish she (and a growing number of media personalities) would pronounce their L’s more. “Stumbled” rather than stumboo’ed. “People” rather than peepow. Rules not rues. Welcome not wewcome etc. I like L’s in an Aussie accent!

    But as said we’re enjoying the doco. So sad Koalas are being so adversely affected. :-(
    And what’s with the neck collar! Poor fellas. Isn’t there a better way to track than hoiking a neck collar on them?

    Thanks PBS! Keep it up.

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