Chester Zoo

Some of the world’s smallest monkeys born at Chester Zoo

Some of the world’s smallest species of monkey has been born at Chester Zoo.

The pair of eastern pygmy marmosets, one of the most miniature primate species on Earth, arrived to parents Zoe (3) and Baldrick (4).

One of the world’s smallest monkeys born at Chester Zoo (1)
One of the world’s smallest monkeys born at Chester Zoo (1)
One of the world’s smallest monkeys born at Chester Zoo (1)


The tiny twins each measure just two inches (five centimetres) in length and weigh no more than 10 grams.

Keepers say the babies are already “highly inquisitive” but are so small that it will be some time yet until their genders are known.

Holly Webb, a Primate Keeper at Chester Zoo, said:

“It’s wonderful to see new additions within the marmoset family and it’s almost unbelievable just how small the babies are when they are first born. They are no bigger than a ping pong ball!

“Mum Zoe and dad Baldrick have jumped straight into parenthood. Zoe is ever so caring and, unlike other primates, dad is heavily involved in the upbringing of the youngsters. Baldrick sensed that Zoe was ready to give birth and even put on a little extra weight to give him the energy to care for the twins. He’s really got stuck into the parenting - we spotted him carrying the babies around on his back when they were just one day old.

“New babies always strengthen family bonds and some of the younger primates in the group have also been carrying the new arrivals around. It’s great to see them learn and pick up parenting tips from Zoe and Baldrick, and that experience will be important if they one day go on to have young of their own. The fact that younger members of the family are trusted to carry around such delicate new-borns, builds a lot of trust within the group.

“The babies are already very inquisitive and aware of their surroundings. I can’t wait to see them develop their own little personalities.”

The eastern pygmy marmoset is native to the rainforests of western Brazil, south-eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador and eastern Peru. These miniature monkeys are threatened by habitat loss and often exposed to hunting or their capture for the pet trade.

Dr Nick Davis, Deputy Curator of Mammals at the zoo, said:

“Many primate species around the world are highly threatened, often due to large-scale habitat destruction, hunting and the illegal wildlife trade. Sadly, this is very much the case for the eastern pygmy marmoset.

“Despite their tiny stature, pygmy marmosets make a lot of loud noises, especially when calling out to attract a mate or warning others of danger. Even though they are the world’s most miniature species of monkey, their whistles and squeals can be heard throughout the rainforest. Unfortunately, as their forest homes continue to disappear, this can be to their detriment, as a lack of cover leaves them even more exposed to illegal hunters and trappers. Thankfully, conservation teams are working hard to restore forest and create safe areas while new arrivals at the zoo help us to further highlight what needs to be done to prevent their extinction.”

Pygmy marmosets are social animals, have one mate for life and their tails are longer than their bodies, which helps keep them balanced as they pass from branch to branch through the forest. They grow to around eight inches long and just 130g.

The word marmoset originates from the French word “marmouset” which means shrimp and their gestation period is around four-and-a-half months. The species has specialised diet which includes insects, fruit and tree sap.


Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo

Zookeepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare baby rhino.

The female calf was safely delivered by new mum Ema Elsa following a 15-month-long pregnancy.

The birth was caught on the zoo’s CCTV cameras and shows the little one up on her feet and suckling from mum just 10 minutes later.

Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)
Joy as rare baby rhino born at Chester Zoo (5)


Now, the zoo has launched a poll on its Facebook page, inviting the public to help name the precious new arrival. Keepers have shortlisted the names Kasulu (a town in Tanzania), Koshi (meaning ‘to try’) and Kaari (meaning ‘young girl/young daughter’) for voters to choose from.

Conservationists at the zoo say the arrival of the calf – an eastern black rhino - will be ‘celebrated globally’ as fewer than 1000 now remain on the planet.

The population of eastern black rhinos in zoos across Europe is vital to the long-term future of the species, with several rhinos born as a result of the carefully coordinated breeding programme between European zoos having been introduced to Africa to boost wild populations.

Most recently, in June 2019, experts at Chester Zoo spearheaded the transportation of a group of eastern black rhinos from Europe to Akagera National Park, Rwanda.

Andrew McKenzie, Team Manager of rhinos at the zoo, said:

“The birth of a critically endangered eastern black rhino is always very special. And to be able to watch on camera as a calf is born is an incredible privilege - with rhino numbers so, so low it, sadly, isn’t something that’s captured very often. Seeing the little one then get to her feet with a gentle nudge from mum; take her first tentative steps and suckle for the first time is then the icing on the cake. It really is heart-warming stuff.

“The whole team here is overjoyed. Mum and calf have bonded wonderfully and have been showing us all of the right signs. These rhinos have been pushed to the very edge of existence and every single addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is celebrated globally. It’s sadly no exaggeration to say that it’s entirely possible that we could lose them forever within our lifetime and the world’s most progressive zoos are very much part of the fight to prevent their extinction.”


The eastern black rhino is listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered. In the wild, they are now found only in Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.

Experts say the multibillion pound illegal wildlife trade is driving the species towards extinction - the surge in demand of rhino horn stemming from the Asian medicine market.

Andrew added:

“In the short term, Ema Elsa and her new baby will help to highlight the perilous position that this species is in and we hope they encourage more people to join the fight to prevent the extinction of these gentle giants. In the future, as we work to ensure more safe areas, we hope Ema and her offspring, like others before them born into the European breeding programme, are one day able to make the journey back to Africa.”


Conservation scientists at Chester Zoo, working out of the UK’s only zoo-based animal endocrine lab, have developed a technique to track black rhino oestrus cycles via hormone analysis of their dung – helping keepers to decide when best to introduce females to a mate to help optimise chances of a successful mating outcome, and subsequently confirm and track a pregnancy. This method is now being used in Kenya where rangers and vets, using a field lab set up with the help of experts from Chester, are deploying the technique to monitor wild rhino populations.

In addition to rhino breeding, Chester Zoo has, for many years, also supported conservation efforts to protect eastern black rhinos in Africa and continues to fund and provide expertise to numerous sanctuaries, partners and wildlife reserves and to train anti-poaching rangers.


Critically endangered orangutan born at Chester Zoo

 

Chester Zoo is celebrating the birth of a critically endangered Bornean orangutan.

The new baby took keepers by surprise as mum Leia had been given a pregnancy test just months before, which came back negative. Orangutans are typically pregnant for 259 days (eight and a half months).

Keepers say the new arrival is ‘bright and alert’ and is suckling well from mum, who is incredibly protective of her new baby.

Bornean orangutans are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as critically endangered in the wild.

Threatened by illegal hunting, habitat destruction and the conversion of their forest to palm oil plantations, the species has been pushed to the very brink of existence. Recent estimates suggest as few as 55,000 Bornean orangutans may remain on the island of Borneo in Indonesia - the only place they can be found in the wild. With this huge decline in the population, the group of orangutans at Chester Zoo are part of a vital international breeding programme which is working to conserve the species.

Chris Yarwood, a primate keeper at the zoo, said:

“The pregnancy tests we had carried out on Leia in the months prior to the birth had actually returned negative results. It was therefore a wonderful surprise to arrive one morning to see her protectively cradling a beautiful new arrival.

“Leia enjoys spending lots of time alone with her baby and has so far been quite shy about showing it off. She always keeps it really close to her and so we’ve not yet been able to clearly determine what the gender of the infant is. What we are sure of though is that the baby is bright, alert and suckling well from mum and has developed well over the last couple of months. This is Leia’s second baby - she’s a great mum and is doing a fab job once again.

“Chester is one of the few zoos in Europe that cares for both Bornean and Sumatran orangutans. These are critically endangered animals and, importantly, we’ve seen babies from both sub-species born in recent times. It just goes to show that, despite all of the uncertainty in the world right now, life is carrying on as normal for the orangutans, which is really uplifting to see.”

Dr Nick Davis, the zoo’s Deputy Curator of Mammals, added:

“Bornean orangutans are the largest arboreal mammals in the world and how fast their numbers are plummeting is frightening. They are victims of illegal hunting and habitat loss and are highly threatened by the unsustainable oil palm industry, which is having a devastating effect on the forests where they live.

“These magnificent animals are being pushed to the very edge of existence and it really could be the case that we soon lose them forever. It’s absolutely vital therefore that there’s a sustainable population of Bornean orangutans in the world’s progressive zoos - every addition to the European endangered species breeding programme is so, so important.”

Chester Zoo is working with conservation partners HUTAN in a bid to protect wild orangutans in Borneo. Conservationists have been carrying out research in the Kinabatangan - home to one of the largest populations of orangutans in the Sabah region of the island - to gain a better understanding of how orangutans are adapting to an increase in oil palm plantations and the new landscapes which they have created.

A team of zoo experts has also helped to create special ‘orangutan bridges’ – designed to connect pockets of fragmented forest and enable orangutans to safely travel between different areas. Elsewhere, the zoo is working on environmental education programmes, which teach communities surrounding the forests about how they can help save the species and has also supported local NGO, the Borneo Nature Foundation, in tackling forest fires to help protect the Bornean orangutans’ habitat.
Dr Davis continued:

“There’s still a huge need to tackle the excessive deforestation in Borneo and show people everywhere that they can make a difference to the long-term survival of orangutans. We really hope that Leia’s new baby helps to further highlight how simple everyday choices, like choosing products which contain only sustainably sourced palm oil, can have a massive impact on the future of these remarkable animals.”

Here in the UK, Chester Zoo is campaigning against the use of unsustainable palm oil in everyday household and food items, working with national governmental organisations and industries using palm oil to adopt Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) practices and raise awareness of the devastating effects unsustainable palm oil has on wildlife. Visit www.actforwildlife.org.uk/orangutans to join the fight for orangutans.


UK first: Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo

UK first. Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo - and they_re adorable! (2)

The first set of Andean bear twins ever to be born in the UK have emerged from their den at Chester Zoo.

The playful cubs were born in January, but have only now started to venture out and explore, having spent their first six months cuddled up by the protective side of their mum, Lima (8).

 

UK first. Twin Andean bear cubs born at Chester Zoo - and they_re adorable! (8)



Revealed as one boy and one girl, the rare cubs were spotted outside enjoying a bit of ‘friendly rough and tumble’ and attempting to climb trees, before following mum back to their den for a well-deserved nap.

Bear conservationists at the zoo – which recently reopened after three months of closure - have named the adorable duo Pacha (female) and Mateo (male), and have hailed the birth of the cubs as “very, very special.” Experts estimate that fewer than 10,000 Andean bears remain in the wild.

Lucy Edwards, Chester Zoo’s Assistant Team Manager of Carnivores, said:

“Andean bears are incredibly shy animals and, for this reason, are still something of mystery to conservationists. So to see mum Lima allowing her two little cubs to explore so freely and enjoy a bit of friendly rough and tumble is just wonderful – it’s very, very special. The twin cubs are so full of energy and their playful personalities are really starting to show - it looks like they will be keeping mum very busy.

“Just a few weeks ago, while the zoo was closed, a small team of keepers and vets managed to give the cubs a quick check over and we’re very happy to report that both were given a clean bill of health. It’s great that we can now safely welcome back visitors and they can learn more about Andean bears and see the twins for themselves – an incredibly rare sight, even for conservationists studying them out in the field day in and day out.”

The species was originally made famous by the classic children’s character Paddington Bear who, although found in a London train station in the books, was known to be from ‘deepest, darkest Peru’.

Andean bears are the only species of bear inhabit South America and, as well as Peru, they are found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. They are listed by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as vulnerable to extinction.

Lucy continued:

“Mum Lima is doing an incredible job caring for her new cubs and they seem to be really thriving under her watchful eye. Her new arrivals are vital additions to the endangered species breeding programme, which is working to preserve the species, help conservationists to learn more about them and, ultimately, protect the long-term future of these beautiful bears.

“Alongside this important work in the zoo, our conservationists have also been working in Bolivia, alongside our partners the local NGO PROMETA and the University of Oxford, to understand how Andean bears live in the wild. Together, we are striving to find new ways to prevent conflict between bears and humans – a key threat to this species. The project is the first of its kind in the region and aims to have bears and humans living side by side in harmony.”

Andean bears share their habitat with some of South America’s poorest and most vulnerable communities, whose livelihoods are being severely challenged by climate change. Sadly, this means the bears are often targeted by farmers and land owners, as they can pose a threat to crops and livestock in their search for food sources, which are dwindling in their natural range. This is a direct result of habitat loss, brought about by mass-scale deforestation and climate change. Experts suggest that more than 30% of the forests in South America have disappeared in the last 20 years.


Andean bear facts:

 

  • The cubs were born on 10 January 2020
  • Mum Lima was born on 12/01/2012. She is 8 years old
  • Dad Bernie was born on 14/01/2010. He is 10 years old

 


Delightful Duo of Red Panda Cubs for Chester Zoo

1_Adorable red panda twins born at Chester Zoo have first health check up (11)

Chester Zoo’s two Red Panda cubs have been revealed as a boy and a girl, during their first ever health check-up.

The precious twelve-week-old twins, classed by conservationists as endangered in the wild, were born on June 22 to mum, Nima, and dad, Koda, who have kept them tucked up in their nest boxes since birth.

Now, specialist vets and keepers have had their very first look at the delightful duo, examining the pair during the health check, where they were weighed, sexed and vaccinated. Each of the fluffy youngsters was given a full, clean bill of health.

James Andrewes, Assistant Team Manager at the zoo, said, “These Red Panda twins are wonderful, important new additions to the carefully managed breeding programme for the species, which is working to increase the safety-net population in Europe as numbers in the wild continue to decline. Happily, both cubs are developing very well indeed and the health MOTs we’ve been able to perform confirmed that mum Nima is clearly doing a great job of caring for them.”

James continued, “We also discovered the genders of each of the cubs - one male and one female - and returned them to their mum as soon as we’d finished giving them a quick once over. Nima took them straight back to her nest and it’ll be a few weeks now until the cubs start to develop the confidence to come out and explore by themselves. Before they’re able to stand on their own feet, it is though possible that some lucky people will have the occasional glimpse of Nima carrying them from nest to nest by the scruffs of their necks.”

2_Adorable red panda twins born at Chester Zoo have first health check up (4)

3_Adorable red panda twins born at Chester Zoo have first health check up (20)

4_Adorable red panda twins born at Chester Zoo have first health check up (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Red Pandas are found in the mountainous regions of Nepal, India, Bhutan, Myanmar and southern China where their wild number is estimated at fewer than 10,000 – a 40% decline over the past 50 years.

This decrease is a direct result of human actions, such as widespread habitat destruction, trapping for the illegal pet trade and poaching for their iconic red fur – which in some countries is used to make hats for newly-weds as a symbol of happy marriage.

Conservationists at Chester Zoo have called on the public help to fight the illegal wildlife trade that is driving species to extinction around the world. People can report any suspicious activity they may spot, online or on holiday, via the zoo’s online illegal wildlife trade reporting form: www.chesterzoo.org/illegalwildlifetrade    

In recent years, Chester Zoo has been fighting for the future of the Red Panda through habitat-focused conservation projects in the Sichuan Mountains of China, where they can be found among the bamboo forests.

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Rare Caterpillars Will Bring Butterflies Back From Near Extinction

! Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (15)

More than 150 rare caterpillars hatched at Chester Zoo are now destined for release into the wild in parts of England, where they have been extinct for a century.

Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (1)
Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (1)
Tiny  rare large heath caterpillars destined for the wild hatch at Chester Zoo (1)Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Conservationists at the zoo have been using fine art paintbrushes to move the miniscule species into their specially designed habitats at the zoo.

The paintbrushes allow the zoo’s invertebrate keepers to be precise and delicate when handling the precious insects.

After plenty of eating and growth, the tiny youngsters will hibernate over the winter and pupate next year, emerging in the summer as Large Heath Butterflies.

Large Heath Butterflies were once common across the British Isles but over the last 200 years, they have been pushed further and further north. Large colonies previously at home in the boggy mosses of Manchester and Liverpool have long since been lost to local extinction.

As the UK has built its agriculture over the last two centuries, the wet mosslands that the Large Heath needs to survive have been drained and converted into farmland. As the land dried, the food plants for the Butterfly were lost, resulting in a cascade of wildlife disappearance.

The Butterfly can be identified by its orange wings, each bearing six black and white ‘eyespots’ on the underside. Conservationists hope to ensure that they will one day be a common sight across the UK once again.

Ben Baker, Team Manager of the Chester Zoo Butterfly team, said, “Few people realize that the Butterflies we might see in our gardens, forests and mosslands across the UK are heavily under threat, with many species disappearing from their last strongholds throughout England. It is an amazing privilege to play a part in embarking these rare caterpillars on their journey, returning the species to their historic home.”

Chester Zoo supports conservationists and conservation projects across the United Kingdom to prevent the extinction of unique and endangered species, safeguarding diverse and healthy ecosystems.




Chester Zoo Announces New Malayan Tapir Calf

1_Chester Zoo gives a first glimpse of its super-cute new baby tapir  (38)

A rare Malayan Tapir was born at Chester Zoo on July 18. The calf, which has been revealed as a boy, arrived to proud mum, Margery (age 7) and dad, Betong (age 6).

Weighing just 5kg at birth, the ‘precious’ youngster follows a 13-month-long (391-day) pregnancy.

Baby tapirs have distinctive coats when first born, made up of a series of spots and stripes to help camouflage them on the forest floors in their native South East Asia. This pattern will slowly change over the first six months to the unique black and white pattern of their parents.

2_Chester Zoo gives a first glimpse of its super-cute new baby tapir  (60)

3_Chester Zoo gives a first glimpse of its super-cute new baby tapir  (64)

4_Chester Zoo gives a first glimpse of its super-cute new baby tapir  (65)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Around half of the world’s Malayan Tapirs have been lost in the last 40 years, with fewer than 2,500 estimated to remain in across Malaysia, Sumatra, Thailand and Myanmar. Hunting, illegal logging, and mass deforestation as land is cleared for unsustainable palm oil production are reasons for the decline in numbers. The species is currently listed as “Endangered” on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN’s) Red List of Threatened Species.

Sarah Roffe, Team Manager, said, “It’s wonderful to hear the pitter-patter of tiny, spotty Malayan Tapir feet again for only the second time ever in the zoo’s long history.”

“Mum Margery is ever so good with the baby. She’s very attentive but also gives him chance to explore and find his feet.”

“The precious calf is another big boost for the international breeding programme, which is working to ensure the already endangered species do not become extinct. In the wild, the Malayan Tapir population has crashed in recent times, largely due to the widespread conversion of their forest habitat to palm oil plantations. If people want to help this wonderful species, then we’d urge them to demand that the palm oil contained in the products they use is from sustainable sources.”

The Malayan Tapir is related to both the horse and the rhinoceros. It is an‘odd-toed’ ungulate (or hoofed mammal), with four toes on each front foot and three on each back foot.

To celebrate the youngster's arrival, keepers at the zoo asked the public to help them to give him a name. The results of the online poll were recently revealed, and the calf's new name is...Rony!

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Chester Zoo Guests Witness Birth of Rare Chimpanzee

1_!Rare chimpanzee born in front of astonished visitors at Chester Zoo arrives to mum Alice (10)

The birth of a critically endangered West African Chimpanzee caught visitors by surprise at Chester Zoo.

The new baby was safely delivered, in front of a handful of astonished zoo guests, at around 5pm on July 13. The birth followed a seven-and-a-half-month pregnancy for doting mum, Alice (age 27).

Posting on social media, one onlooker described the birth as “honestly one of the most amazing things I’ve ever seen” while another said it was “pretty epic.”

2_!Rare chimpanzee born in front of astonished visitors at Chester Zoo arrives to mum Alice (15)

3_Rare chimpanzee born in front of astonished visitors at Chester Zoo arrives to mum Alice (12)

4_Rare chimpanzee born in front of astonished visitors at Chester Zoo arrives to mum Alice (1)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

Zoo conservationists say the new baby, a female that is yet to named, is in good health and is spending all of her time bonding with mum and other members of the 21-strong group of Chimpanzees.

Primate experts have hailed the youngster as a ‘vital boost’ to the conservation breeding programme for the species. It follows several years of scientific research, which has carefully assessed the genetics of all Chimpanzees in European zoos, confirming the make-up of the group at Chester as hugely important to the future of the species.

It is estimated that as few as 18,000 West African Chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) remain in the wild and it is the first subspecies of Chimpanzee to be added to the list of critically endangered apes.

Mike Jordan, Collections Director at the zoo, said, “This new baby is a significant addition to this multi-generational Chimpanzee group at the zoo - and a vital boost to the conservation breeding programme for the critically endangered species.”

“Alice and her daughter have bonded well and she’s doing a wonderful job of caring for her so far. A new baby always creates lots of excitement and Alice has plenty of support from some of the other experienced mums in the group, who are all keen to lend a helping hand.”

"The youngster provides particular cause for celebration given the plight of chimpanzees in Africa. More Chimpanzees are hunted for the illegal bush meat trade than are born each year, causing populations to plummet in the wild. Couple that with the fact that humans are destroying their habitats and it’s easy to see why these fantastic animals – one of our closest cousins – are being pushed towards extinction. This new arrival is a step towards changing the fortunes for the species,” Jordan concluded.

Conservationists at the zoo have been working in Africa to protect some of the world’s rarest Chimpanzee species for more than 20 years. The expert teams have helped protect one of the last major strongholds of the Nigeria-Cameroon chimpanzee in Gashaka Gumti National park in Nigeria.

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Chester Zoo’s New Giraffe Calf is a 'Rare' Beauty

1_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (6)

The dramatic moment a rare giraffe entered the world was recently caught on camera at Chester Zoo.

Orla, a highly endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe, gave birth to the six-foot-tall female calf on May 8 after a two-and-half-hour labour (and 477 days gestation).

She has been named ‘Karamoja’. Keepers dedicated the new calf’s name to the people of Karamoja in Uganda, Africa. Karamoja is the region in Uganda where the zoo’s conservationists are working alongside The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to protect some of the last remaining populations of wild Rothschild’s Giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park.

2_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (7)

3_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (8)

4_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The new birth – the second at the zoo in the space of just eight weeks - is another important boost for the global breeding programme for the endangered animals, with the wild population standing at just 2,650.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said, “When you’re the world’s tallest land mammal, your entry into the world is a long one… and not always very graceful. But since giraffes give birth standing up, a calf starts off its life with a drop of up to two meters to the ground. This fall breaks the umbilical cord helps to stimulate its first breath.”

“Following the birth, Orla’s calf was then on its feet within 30 minutes – and is already towering above most of the keepers at nearly six feet tall. It’s so far looking strong and healthy and is another special new arrival, coming hot on the hooves of Mburo who was born just eight weeks ago,” Roffe continued.

“Mburo was clearly highly interested in the new thing that had landed near to him. Seeing the two young calves together is wonderful.”

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Dusky Pademelon Joey Peeks Out of Pouch

Rare dusky pademelon born at Chester Zoo begins to peek out from mum’s pouch (5)

Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of the zoo’s first Dusky Pademelon – a small cousin of the Kangaroo from Indonesia.   

Rare dusky pademelon born at Chester Zoo begins to peek out from mum’s pouch  (21)
Rare dusky pademelon born at Chester Zoo begins to peek out from mum’s pouch  (21)
Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

The joey has just started to peek out from the pouch of first-time mother Styx. 

Dusky Pademelons, also known as Dusky Wallabies, are small, hopping marsupials found in forests on the island of New Guinea, as well as some neighboring islands. 

Infants are born 30 days after mating and then continue to grow inside their mother's pouch until they fully emerge at around seven months.

Dave White, Team Manager of the zoo’s Twilight team, said, “Just like Kangaroos and other marsupials, newborn Dusky Pademelons will climb up to the safety of mum’s pouch to nurse when they are merely the size of jellybeans. It’s in that pouch that they receive all of the nourishment and protection they need as they develop, right up to the moment they are old enough to begin exploring the outside world for themselves.” 

“An adult Dusky Pademelon’s pouch has a powerful muscle to prevent the joey from falling out, but it won’t be too long until it’s ready to fully emerge and start hopping around on its own two feet. That’s when we’ll discover whether it’s a boy or a girl and choose its name,” White said.

The Dusky Pademelon is listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its population is estimated to have declined by 30% in the last 15-20 years, largely due to trapping, hunting and habitat loss.

Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s Curator of Mammals, said, “Relatively little is known about the Dusky Pademelon and we’re working to better understand these fantastic animals. Through the scientific observations we’re making at the zoo, and all that we’re learning as mum brings up her new joey, we’re able to better document Dusky Pademelon behavior. This could help add to the baseline of data that already exists and help other conservation teams to ensure its long-term survival in the wild.”

See more photos of the joey below.

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