An Endangered Matchie’s Tree Kangaroo has begun to peek out of its mother’s pouch at Zoo Miami. Though it is just now exposing itself, this joey is believed to have actually been born approximately 5 months ago. As with most marsupials, Tree Kangaroos are born in an almost embryonic state after a pregnancy of about 44 days. The newborn is only the size of a jelly bean and slowly crawls into the mother’s pouch where it locks onto a nipple and then the majority of development takes place.
Now more fully formed, the little one is still hairless and while it peeks out of the pouch, it will stay confined there for the next several months, continuing to develop before venturing away from its mother. It will not be totally weaned until it is around a year old.
Matchie’s tree kangaroos live at high elevations in the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea where they spend most of their time up in trees feeding on a variety of leaves, ferns, moss, and bark. They are believed to be solitary animals and the only strong social bond formed is between a mother and her offspring. Both Mom and joey will remain off exhibit for several weeks to allow for proper bonding and to help facilitate a smooth introduction for this wonderful new addition!
Read more and see more pictures after the fold:
The first-time mother is three and a half years old, on loan from the Brownsville Zoo in Texas. The five-year-old father is on loan from the Bronx Zoo in New York. As part of the breeding loan agreement, the female offspring belongs to the Brownsville Zoo and will eventually become part of an international captive breeding program. Zoo Miami has been a long time contributor to Matchie’s Tree Kangaroo conservation efforts in the wilds of New Guinea.