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1173709_691854294210798_759551476_nAustralia’s 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, but keepers have only just begun seeing her tiny head peeking out from first-time mother Kwikila’s pouch.

Photo Credit:  Sam Bennett

Like all marsupials, female Tree Kangaroos have a well-developed pouch in which they carry and nurse their young.  The joey, which has not yet been named, will remain in Kwikila’s pouch for several more months.  As she grows, the joey will start exploring the world, but mom’s pouch will remain a favorite retreat until she can no longer fit inside.

Tree Kangaroos are different than their ground-dwelling Kangaroo cousins in Australia.  They have shorter hind legs and stronger forelimbs to maneuver in the treetops.  The long tail provides balance when leaping from branch to branch. 

Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are native to upland rain forests on the island of New Guinea.  They feed on the tough, fibrous leaves of the silkwood tree.  These leaves are digested by their specialized stomachs, which are similar to those of ruminants like cows. 

Due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their meat, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. 

See more photos of the joey below.