First endangered tree kangaroo born in Australian sanctuary takes first hops

Dec 6, 2018

The extremely rare Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is teetering on the brink of extinction. Yet there is cause for celebration at the Healesville Sanctuary in southeast Australia: Earlier this month, a brand-new tree kangaroo joey ventured out of his mom’s pouch for the first time.

The mom, Mani, was successfully paired with dad Bagam in the beginning of 2016, and a routine pouch check earlier this year revealed a jellybean-sized joey—the first-ever tree kangaroo born at the sanctuary.

⚡ Newsflash! ⚡ There is a baby Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo popping its head out of the pouch at Healesville Sanctuary!…

Posted by Zoos Victoria on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

⚡ Newsflash! ⚡ There is a baby Goodfellow's Tree-kangaroo popping its head out of the pouch at Healesville Sanctuary!…

Posted by Zoos Victoria on Wednesday, September 12, 2018

The birth was a cause for celebration. And after six more months, the joey popped his head out of his mom’s pouch for the first time one chilly morning in early September. They named him Kofi.

Now at nearly eight months of age, the baby has made his way out of his mom’s pouch, and in the coming months is expected to venture out further as he becomes more independent and learns from his parents. For now, though, Kofi still prefers the comfort and safety of Mom’s pouch, even if it makes climbing a bit cumbersome for Mani.

Kofi will not be introduced into the wild, however. “The best way to secure a future for this species at present is to take pressure off the wild population,” says Chris Banks, Zoos Victoria manager of conservation.

The tree kangaroo, with its short legs and claws, is well adapted for climbing but is rather clumsy on the ground, unlike its ground-hopping counterparts the wallaby and the kangaroo. Goodfellows inhabit parts of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia, and north-east Australia. The species is considered threatened due to hunting and habitat loss.

For that reason, the Healesville Sanctuary along with two other Australian zoos as well as the Tree-Kangaroo Conservation Program have partnered together to help shade-grown coffee farmers in Papua New Guinea participate in sustainable agricultural projects that benefit people and wildlife—such as the tree kangaroos that live there.

Thus, the Conservation Coffee Project was born.

Posted by Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program on Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Posted by Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program on Thursday, October 6, 2016

If the indigenous locals that own the rainforest habitat are able to flourish, so, too, do local species. “[M]ore coffee farmers means more protected land and increased protection for populations of tree kangaroos, cassowaries, cuscus (a possum-like marsupial), and many other species,” says Banks.

To date, over 180,000 hectares of tropical habitat is being protected by the Conservation Coffee Project, while over 600 farmers are members.

Posted by Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program on Thursday, September 7, 2017

 

You may also want to watch this video

They lift up their front paws and start kicking—seconds later, the ending will surprise you