AboutZoos, Since 2008


Taronga Zoo cel­e­brates first tree kan­ga­roo joey in 20 years

pub­lished 23 March 2014 | mod­i­fied 23 March 2014

Taronga Zoo is cel­e­brat­ing the suc­cess­ful birth of its first Goodfellow’s Tree Kan­ga­roo joey in more than 20 years. The female joey was born in Sep­tem­ber last year, but keep­ers have only just begun see­ing her tiny head peek­ing out from first-​time mother, Kwikila’s, pouch.

Goodfellows tree kangarooKwik­ila arrived from Belfast Zoo in Jan­u­ary 2013 and her suc­cess­ful pair­ing with Taronga’s res­i­dent male, Parum, is a tri­umph not only for the Zoo but also the global breed­ing pro­gramme for this endan­gered species.

Thrilled keep­ers have been observ­ing the joey’s daily progress, as it emerges each morn­ing at feed­ing time in the lush exhibit just below Taronga’s main entrance. “Keen-​eyed vis­i­tors will also be able to spot the joey when it pokes its head out of its mother’s pouch dur­ing the day. Guests at the top café get a great view of Kwik­ila, as she loves hang­ing out high in the trees and is not shy about show­ing off her lit­tle one to the pub­lic,” said Keeper, Sam Bennett.

Taronga will shortly announce a pub­lic nam­ing com­pe­ti­tion for the as yet unnamed joey on social media, encour­ag­ing peo­ple to get involved and learn more about this rare and fas­ci­nat­ing species.

Watch the tree kan­ga­roo joey emerg­ing from its mother’s pouch at Taronga Zoo:

(Source: Taronga Syd­ney YouTube channel)

Goodfellow’s Tree-​Kangaroos are mostly brown in colour with golden yel­low limbs and a long mot­tled golden yel­low and brown tail. The colours may help them blend in with decay­ing vines and mosses at the top of trees. Unlike their grounded cousins, tree kan­ga­roos are able to walk back­wards — an essen­tial skill when nego­ti­at­ing branches — and have specially-​adapted pads on their feet and hands to help with climbing.

Endan­gered species breed­ing pro­gramme
Native to Papua New Guinea, Goodfellow’s Tree Kan­ga­roos (Den­dro­la­gus good­fel­lowi) are listed as Endan­gered accord­ing the IUCN Red List of Threat­ened Species, with num­bers in the wild decreas­ing due to habi­tat loss and encroach­ing human activ­ity. There are 46 Goodfellow’s Tree Kan­ga­roos in the global breed­ing pro­gramme of which only 13 are male. Global zoos are coor­di­nat­ing the breed­ing pro­gramme together and each male is placed with at least two females to opti­mise breed­ing success.

(Source: Taronga Con­ser­va­tion Soci­ety Aus­tralia media release, 14.03.2014)

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