A little Zoo present has popped up just in time to give a pounce of holiday cheer! “Nokopo” (pronounced NOH-koh-poh), a female Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo joey, has begun poking her head out from within her mother’s pouch at their habitat in Emerson Children’s Zoo at the Saint Louis Zoo. Six months ago Nokopo, nicknamed Noko, was born the size of a lima bean. She immediately moved into her mother’s pouch to be nurtured and developed, and has since grown to be the size of a small cat. She is named after a village in Papua New Guinea.
Although still shy, visitors who are patient may see Noko climbing partially out of the pouch, reaching for her mom’s food and beginning to explore her world. At about 10 months old, she will officially move out of the pouch, but will continue to nurse until she is at least 16 months old.
This is the third offspring for mother “Kasbeth” and father “Iri” and the third tree ‘roo ever to be born at the Saint Louis Zoo. Kasbeth and Iri were paired under the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for tree kangaroos.
The endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo is a small marsupial found only in the thick, mountainous forests of Papua New Guinea, an island just south of the equator, north of Australia. A relative of terrestrial kangaroos, the reddish-brown and cream colored tree kangaroo also retains the legendary ability to jump. The tree kangaroo can leap as far as 30 feet from a tree to the ground.
Little is known about tree kangaroo behavior in the wild, though it is presumed to live a solitary lifestyle. Females and males have non-overlapping ranges, and the only strong social bonds are between a mother and her young.