Meet “Poppy”, the newest member of the Kansas City Zoo’s Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo family.
KC Zoo is a participant in the Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan (SSP).
Poppy is the daughter of 9-year-old first-time dad “Gru” and11-year-old first-time mom Nokopo.
Nokopo is trained to allow pouch checks so keepers could check for a joey and then monitor progress.
Baby Popondetta (Poppy) is named after a city in Papua New Guinea.
She was born on March 16, 2021 and stayed in the pouch for about 24 weeks before her head first appeared on 9/2/21.
She’ll pop her head in and out of the pouch over the next several weeks as she is exploring the environment and nursing inside the pouch. Poppy may start to graze on mom’s food soon and is expected come all the way out of the pouch around 7 months (late October). She’ll continue to go in and out of mom’s pouch until about 10 months of age and be weaned at 13 months of age.
Poppy is the first surviving joey born at KCZ in 20 years.
Nokopo and Popondetta will be separated from Gru until Popondetta is at least 18 months old, at which point the Zoo will follow SSP recommendations for breeding and transfer.
The Zoo’s tree kangaroo exhibit was refurbished in 2019 creating an indoor, temperature-controlled exhibit and a separate outdoor exhibit. This allowed staff to manage the tree kangaroo breeding more effectively because, ideally, the male and female are only put together at specific points during the female’s cycle. It also gave them more space and more environmental choices as well as more climbing opportunities.
KC Zoo participated in a fecal study with the female tree kangaroo that will help provide more insight and better biological knowledge about tree kangaroos that could lead to advancements in care as well as improved conservation efforts.
The Animal Care Specialists on team Australasia kept track of Nokopo’s cycles by noting both male and female behaviors and comparing that with Nokopo’s results from an ongoing fecal study. The Zoo’s Animal Care Specialists’ hard work and dedication to tree kangaroo husbandry and conservation resulted in the first tree kangaroo birth at KCZ in 20 years!