Who’s peeking out of that pouch? It’s a Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo, saying hello to the world for the first time. Born at Zoo Miami, the joey is only the second of this endangered species born in the United States this year.
Photo Credit: Ron Magill
Still mostly hairless, the joey was about the size of a jelly bean when it was born five months ago. It crawled unassisted into the pouch, where it latched onto a teat. Since then, the joey has been nursing and growing inside mom’s pouch. The joey will remain in the pouch for several more months, but will gradually start to explore the world on its own until it is weaned at about one year of age. The pouch, however, will remain a safe haven – most joeys try to squeeze inside even when they are far too large to fit.
The joey’s gender has not been determined, but it will eventually become part of an international zoo breeding program.
Found only in the mountainous rain forests of northeastern New Guinea, Matschie’s Tree Kangaroos spend most of their time in the trees feeding on leaves, ferns, moss, and bark. Because the forests in which they live have been logged or converted to agriculture, these marsupials are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Zoo Miami has been a long time contributor to Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo conservation efforts in the wilds of New Guinea.
See more photos of the joey below.