It's cuteness overload at Healesville Sanctuary where a tiny Tree Kangaroo joey is now regularly climbing – somewhat clumsily - out of mum's pouch to hop around.
At eight months old, little Ori [pronounced: Or-ree] is already delighting visitors as she pops out and explores her habitat.
Healesville Sanctuary Mammal Keeper Katherine Sarris said the Tree Kangaroo exhibit had undergone various renovations in preparation for the active youngster.
"Tree Kangaroo joeys are really clumsy as they discover the world, that's why we have also incorporated more mulch and pea gravel to her home, just in case she takes a tumble," Ms Sarris said. "And we have installed new perches with thick bark so it's easier for Ori to learn how to climb."
The entire Mammal Team conducted a working bee to make the improvements along with the help of the Sanctuary's Works and Horticulture Departments.
Ori is a Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo. She is the third offspring to mum Mani [pronounced Ma-knee] and dad Bagam [pronounced Bag-am]. However, she is the first female offspring produced by the pair. Her male siblings Kofi and Chimbu were born in 2018 and 2019 and now reside at other zoos where they are contributing their genetics to the international breeding program.
Once Ori reaches 10 months of age, she will live entirely outside of the pouch gaining further independence as she transitions from consuming mum's milk to eating fruits and vegetables.
Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroos are native to Papua New Guinea and are listed as Endangered with a decreasing population on the Internal Union for Conservation of Nature red list. Two species of Tree Kangaroos are native to Australia - the Bennett's Tree Kangaroo and the Lumholtz's Tree Kangaroo. Both species are found in Far North Queensland.
Zoos Victoria and Healesville Sanctuary visitors are reminded that all tickets must be pre-booked online at zoo.org.au. Zoos Victoria Members no longer need to book but are required to scan their Membership card at entry.
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