When the NX-class starship Enterprise NX-01 visited Dakala in 2151, the Starfleet crew detected a diverse animal population native to the planet. Although Captain Jonathan Archer, Enterprise's commanding officer, expected the planet's surface to be frozen solid, his crew found that hot gases were venting from Dakala's interior and keeping the planet warm. Most of Dakala's lifeforms were concentrated in the areas where these vents could be found. Sub-Commander T'Pol, the starship's science officer, detected no evidence of humanoid life on Dakala.
Strangely, a power signature near the planet's equator indicated the presence of a vessel. When Enterprise attempted to contact the detected ship, there was no response. Shortly thereafter, an away team from Enterprise traveled to Dakala in a shuttlepod. The group experienced difficulty using infrared to scan the ship, as the heat generated by the planet's thermal vents was too intense. As the shuttlepod arrived high above its destination, T'Pol attempted to scan for a hole in the canopy which surrounded the planet. Ultimately, it turned out that the planet hosted an Eska hunting party. The Eska had been using Dakala as a hunting reserve for nine generations. They were allowed to hunt there only four days a year.
The primal volcanic vents were similar to Yellowstone National Park, according to Archer, and reminded T'Pol of the grottoes of Deneva Prime. The planet was covered by forest similar to the rain forests of New Zealand on Earth. Indigenous lifeforms included bore worms, drayjins, fire wolves, some species of large reptiles, and a species of bioluminescent "bug". The planet had no indigenous humanoid life, but it had some higher primates which the Eska did not hunt. However, the Eska did hunt for several species such as drayjin, and most notably they hunted a shapeshifting intelligent species called the wraiths. The Eska did not think the wraiths were intelligent, but Enterprise discovered they were and helped them avoid being detected by the Eska. (ENT: "Rogue Planet")
According to Star Trek: Star Charts (p. 60) and Stellar Cartography: The Starfleet Reference Library ("Federation Historical Highlights, 2161-2385"), this rogue planet was discovered by the Enterprise in the Alpha Quadrant.
It is unclear how plant life could survive on Dakala. One scene, however, shows the surface covered in the dim light of a nearby star, perhaps supplying enough energy for some form of photosynthesis. Another theory, from the Star Trek Encyclopedia (4th ed., vol. 1, p. 177), is that the plant and animal life was supported by the surface heat from volcanic vents. More specifically, the authors of this reference work hypothesized that the plants lived on a form of chemosynthesis (using chemicals in volcanic gases) or a form of thermosynthesis (using geothermal heat). The same source also classified Dakala as a class M planet.