Meet the Melbourne Zoo's newest Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo joey. While the baby is actually six months old, the little marsupial is just now starting to poke its head out of mom's pouch so these are some of the first glimpses for keepers and the public! Believe it or not, people actually hunt this rare kangaroo for food in its native home of Indonesia. Combined with habitat destruction, the animal's status is soon to be downgraded from endangered to critically endangered by the IUCN. These outstanding photos were taken by photographer Angelica Jellibat.
More photos and info below the fold...
A baby Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo has been born at Melbourne Zoo, and at 25 weeks old is now starting to emerge from mum’s pouch to say hello to the world.
The joey is the 11th baby tree roo to be born at Melbourne Zoo since 1990 as part of an international species management plan, as they are listed as Endangered and will be upgraded to Critically Endangered when the next global list is produced.
Mum, Bagi, is 9 years old and was originally from Currumbin Sanctuary, and this is her fourth joey. Bagi is currently on display at Melbourne Zoo, and while the joey is still staying safely inside mum’s pouch, it sometimes pokes its head out while Bagi is sunning herself.
Dad Timika is currently housed off display in our breeding introduction exhibit and will soon be introduced to a new female Blue, who came from Cleveland USA. Timika is 10 years old and was bred at Melbourne Zoo. His mother Tapini also resides at the zoo.
The joey is still yet to be named, and will be decided upon by the project officers and village representatives from the Torricelli Mountain Range in Papua New Guinea, who are part of the Tenkile Conservation Alliance (TCA).
TCA is one of Zoos Victoria's priority international conservation programs. Founded in 1999, it was established in response to concerns expressed by local communities about declining Tenkile Tree Kangaroo numbers. Human Populations in the Torricelli Mountain Ranges have nearly trebled in the past 50 years. This has led to a dramatic increase in hunting pressure on wildlife as people traditionally source protein from their environment. Through working closely with 39 villages in the area, TCA is working towards conserving the Tenkile (Scotts Tree Kangaroo) and the Weimang (Golden Mantled Tree Kangaroo) by engaging with indigenous communities to establish conservation areas, provide alternative protein sources and education in the field.
At just 25 weeks old the new joey is expected to make it’s debut out of the pouch in the next few weeks. They permanently vacate the pouch between 29-39 weeks and weigh around 2kg.
The birth of the joey at Melbourne Zoo coincides with the first ever captive bred Weimang joey at the TCA base in Lumi, PNG. By giving the local project officers at TCA naming rights of our Goodfellows Joey, we hope to strengthen the ties between Melbourne Zoo and the people of the Torricelli Mountain Range working towards saving Tree Kangaroos in the wild.