Keweng is a very special tree kangaroo. Animal keeper Amanda gives us the scoop on the 8-month-old joey and her mom Elanna. This adorable little joey is under the watchful eyes of our animal care team, but mom Elanna is doing great and the joey is thriving.
This sweet female Matschie’s tree kangaroo, born to mom Elanna and dad Rocket in January, is named after a village in the YUS Conservation Area (YUS) in Papua New Guinea. YUS is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, and Keweng is one of the main villages in YUS.
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World, meet Keweng (kay-wing), or “Kay” as she is affectionately nicknamed for short! This sweet female Matschie’s tree kangaroo, born to mom Elanna and dad Rocket in January, is named after a village in the YUS Conservation Area (YUS) in Papua New Guinea. YUS is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, and Keweng is one of the main villages in YUS.
“Keweng is the home of Mambawe Manauno, the first landowner and former tree kangaroo hunter, who showed me tree kangaroos for the very first time in 1996,” explained TKCP founder and Director Lisa Dabek, PhD (also WPZ’s Senior Conservation Scientist). “Manauno was also the 2003 recipient of the Woodland Park Zoo Conservation Award. It’s so great to be able to pay tribute to his work with the naming of this special joey.”
Day by day, little Keweng is becoming more familiar with the world around her. She was first spotted poking her head out of Elanna’s pouch in June, and since then, animal keepers have seen her climbing completely out of the pouch for quick bursts of exploration.
“Keweng is doing great,” said animal keeper Amanda Dukart. “Elanna is doing a great job and is very attentive, and it looks like Keweng is going to be zesty just like her mother!”
In a few months, Keweng will leave her mother’s pouch for the last time and learn to be entirely independent while “at foot” by her mom’s side. Joeys stay with their moms for about 18 months. For now, she enjoys her time close to mom, nibbling on greens and browse that Elanna is eating.
Healesville Sanctuary, in Victoria, Australia, is celebrating the birth of an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo - the first ever to be born at the Sanctuary.
New mum, Mani, and her breeding partner, Bagam, were successfully paired at the beginning of 2016. Earlier this year, after a routine pouch check, keepers discovered Mani had a tiny joey, the size of a jellybean, growing in her pouch.
The joey spent six months inside its mum’s pouch before tentatively popping its head out for the first time on a recent chilly winter’s morning. Over the coming months, the youngster will continue to venture out of the pouch more and more. It will become more independent as it learns from mum and dad.
Photo Credits: Zoos Victoria /Healesville Sanctuary
Tree-kangaroos are threatened in the wild by hunting and habitat loss. In response, Zoos Victoria has extended its fighting extinction work across borders, partnering with organizations across the globe on the Tree-kangaroo Conservation Program to save species from extinction.
A Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey has been spotted peeking out of the pouch for the first time at Belfast Zoo!
Senior keeper, Allan Galway, explained, “Our ‘good little fellow’, Kayjo, was born to mother, Jaya, and father, Hasu Hasu, on 9 June 2017. Like all marsupials, female Tree Kangaroos carry and nurse their young in the pouch. When the joey was first born, it was the size of a jellybean and remained in the pouch while developing and suckling from Jaya. Female Tree Kangaroos have a forward facing pouch, containing four teats and we carry out routine ‘pouch’ checks as part of our normal husbandry routine with this species.”
Allan continued, “Jaya moved to Belfast Zoo in January 2013, as part of the collaborative breeding programme. Since then, we have incorporated training into her daily husbandry routine. This involves getting Jaya used to being touched by keepers through a process of ‘positive reinforcement’. We started by providing Jaya with her favourite treat, sweetcorn, until she gradually became used to the keepers touching her. We then built this up to allow keepers to open her pouch. This allows us to check Jaya’s pouch for health purposes and to track the development of the young during these crucial early months. However, it is completely optional, and if Jaya does not want to take part, she has the freedom to move away from the keeper.”
Zookeeper, Mitchell Johnston, is part of the Belfast Zoo team who care for the Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos: “I have been a keeper for four and a half years and I definitely have a soft spot for the tree kangaroos. Through the daily training routine, I have developed a strong relationship with the Kangaroos but especially Jaya. Having worked with her for a while now, I have a strong understanding of her behaviour and, last summer, I started to notice signs that a joey may be on the way. Following further behavioural changes on 9 June, I carried out the pouch check and was delighted to find the jellybean-sized joey. Being able to witness and photograph the infant’s development over the last six months has been fascinating. In fact, I have become so fond of both mother and baby that I decided to name him Kayjo which is a play on words of my eldest child’s name, as the joey certainly feels like one of the family!”
Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo
As their name suggests, the Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) is a tree-dwelling mammal, which is native to the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. These animals are well adapted to a life in the trees by climbing up to 20 feet high and leaping more than 30 feet through the air from branch to branch. However, this species is facing increasing threats due to habitat destruction and hunting.
Zoo manager, Alyn Cairns, said, “As part of our commitment to conservation, we take part in a number of global and collaborative breeding programmes. Until this year, Belfast Zoo was the only zoo in the United Kingdom and Ireland to care for Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, and we were the first in the UK to breed the species back in 2014. Since then, we have bred three joeys. This species is listed as ‘Endangered’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red list, as the population has dramatically declined in Papua New Guinea by at least 50% over the past three generations. The efforts of zoos around the world, are becoming ever more vital in ensuring the survival of so many species under threats. We are delighted that our team’s efforts have led to the arrival of Kayjo, and that we are playing an active role in the conservation of this beautiful and unique species.”
Kayjo is following in the footsteps of big sister, Kau Kau, who hopped out of Jaya’s pouch earlier this year. At this age, visitors who are patient may be rewarded with a glimpse of the new joey. The new arrival will continue to develop in the pouch. As the joey grows it will begin to explore the world outside of the pouch, officially moving out at about 10 months but will continue to feed from mum until at least 16 months old. The youngster will live with the family group at Belfast Zoo until old enough to move to another zoo as part of the collaborative breeding programme.
Singapore Zoo is now home to one-tenth of the global population of endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos under human care, with the arrival of a female joey.
Born jellybean-sized between July and August last year to mother Blue, the female joey first showed a limb in January this year, before peeking out her hairless head later that same month.
Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore
As she approaches her one year milestone, the joey is gradually introducing herself to the world. Although a little clumsy when she first started exploring life outside her mother’s pouch, she can now be seen frequently honing her jumping and climbing skills. While she continues to pop in for mommy’s milk every now and then, she is more content to munch on favorites such as tapioca, carrot, corn, and beans.
With this birth, Singapore Zoo becomes the proud guardian of five Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos: four adults plus the new joey.
The Tree Kangaroos are managed under a Global Species Management Plan (GSMP). The plan involves coordinated efforts of participating zoos in Australia, Europe, Japan, North America, and Singapore to keep Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos as a genetically diverse assurance population should there be a catastrophic decline in the wild population.
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are native to the rain forests of New Guinea and Irian Jaya. They feed mainly on leaves, and are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List.
Perth Zoo welcomed an endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey, the second to be born at the zoo since 1980.
Born the size of a jellybean in July 2016, the male joey, named Haroli, is just starting to become noticeable to zoo guests. This successful birth follows the arrival of Mian, the first Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo joey born at the zoo in 36 years, whom you met on ZooBorns last summer. Both joeys are important contributions to the World Zoo Association global breeding program for this rare species.
Photo Credit: Perth Zoo
Zoo keeper Kerry Pickles said, “Haroli and Mian are half-brothers, both fathered by Huli who came to Perth Zoo from Queensland in 2015 after being identified as the best genetic match for the breeding program.”
“Mother Doba is a first-time mum and is very cautious with her joey who has been keeping his head out of the pouch more frequently,” said Kerry. “Tree Kangaroos remain in their mother’s pouches for approximately six to eight months before testing out their wobbly arboreal legs.”
Native to Papua New Guinea, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are so endangered that zoos around the world have been working together to coordinate breeding with the aim of reversing their decline.
“Young Haroli is only the 16th male Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo to be born as part of the global program,” said Kerry.
“Their genetics are vitally important once they reach sexual maturity. Mian is coming of age, so there are already plans in progress for him to go to the UK to be paired with a female and help provide an insurance against extinction for his wild counterparts.”
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.
In a world first for conservation, Adelaide Zoo Keepers and Veterinarians saved the life of an orphaned Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, by utilizing a surrogate wallaby mother. It’s a technique never attempted before with a Tree Kangaroo!
Photo Credits: Zoos SA
In November last year, zookeepers arrived early one morning to make a horrible discovery. Overnight, a falling branch had crushed the zoo’s three-year-old female Tree Kangaroo, orphaning a five-week-old joey.
Acting on pure adrenalin, zookeepers made the decision to try and save the tiny joey. Due to the young age of the joey, hand rearing was not possible, which meant the only option available was to try and ‘cross-foster’ the joey into the pouch of a surrogate wallaby mother.
‘Cross-fostering’, a special breeding technique that Adelaide Zoo began pioneering in the 1990s, involves the transfer of endangered joeys to the pouch of a surrogate mother of a different wallaby species. This accelerates the breeding cycle of the original wallaby, allowing the female to increase its reproduction rate up to six or eight times in some species. This means Adelaide Zoo can build the captive population of an endangered species much more quickly.
Adelaide Zoo Veterinarian, Dr. David McLelland, says cross fostering has never been attempted on a Tree Kangaroo until that fateful morning. “We’ve had great success over the years’ cross-fostering between wallaby species, but the specialized breeding technique has never been used on a Tree Kangaroo,” David said.
“Not only are tree kangaroos distant relatives of wallabies, they also have many behavioral and physical differences. We had no idea if the Yellow-Foot Rock-Wallaby would accept the Tree Kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck.”
The cross-foster procedure, to get the Tree Kangaroo joey to latch on to the new teat, ran smoothly and an anxious couple of days followed as zoo keepers closely monitored the wallaby to determine if the attempt was successful.
Adelaide Zoo Team Leader of Natives, Gayl Males, says tiny ripples of movement over the following days confirmed the joey was alive and thriving, tucked carefully away in its surrogate mother’s pouch.
“We were so excited when we confirmed the joey had made it past the first critical 24 hour period. We were uncertain as to whether the joey was going to be accepted. This joey was completely different from other joeys in body shape and behavior. It certainly wriggled around more than a wallaby joey!” Gayl said.
“The joey, which we named Makaia, first popped its head out of the pouch around the end of January. It was certainly a sight to see a Tree Kangaroo joey, with its reddish-tan fur, bright blue eyes and long claws riding around in a wallaby!”
“He stayed with his wallaby mum for about three and half months until I took over caring for him and in effect became his third mum. He’s certainly a cheeky little fellow and loves running amok, testing the boundaries, using my home as his personal playground, climbing on everything, pulling toilet paper off the rolls, but he also loves quiet time cuddling with my husband in the evening while we watch TV.”
“He truly is a special little guy and I am so pleased that Adelaide Zoo has the staff and expertise to successfully perform this world first cross-foster. Makaia is the result of all our hard work; we can’t wait to share his amazing story with the world!”
Makaia spends the day at the zoo and goes home with Gayl over evenings and on her days off. He will continue to be cared for full-time until he no longer requires overnight feeds and will be weaned at around 15-18 months old.
Belfast Zoo is home to the only Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos in the United Kingdom and Ireland. In fact, there are only 22 tree kangaroos in the whole of Europe and only six of this subspecies.
The newborns father ‘Hasu-Hasu’ and mother, ‘Jaya’, arrived at Belfast Zoo in 2013. Keepers first noticed movement in Jaya’s pouch on in early May 2014, but it was not until recent weeks that the joey’s head was spotted peaking out!
Zoo Curator, Andrew Hope, said “Like all marsupials, female tree kangaroos carry and nurse their young in their pouch. Keepers first noticed movement in the pouch back in May, but it is only recently that the joey has started to make an appearance. The joey will remain in Jaya’s pouch for several more months before starting to explore and, for this reason, it is not yet possible for keepers to determine the sex or the name of the latest arrival.”
As their name suggests, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are tree-dwelling mammals, found in the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They can climb 15 to 20 feet up tree trunks and can leap more than 30 feet through the air from branch to branch!
Belfast Zoo manager, Mark Challis, said “Belfast Zoo is home to a number of extremely rare and endangered species and, while the team is always ecstatic when any of the animals successfully breed, we are particularly over the moon with the arrival of the tree kangaroo joey! Only 13 zoos internationally are home to Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos, so the arrival of our joey is spectacular! The population of Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo has dramatically declined in the last 30 years due to the habitat destructions and hunting. Zoos have an important and active role to play in their conservation, and I am proud that Belfast is leading the way for Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo in the UK and Ireland.”
Australia’s Taronga Zoo is celebrating the successful birth of its first Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo joey in more than 20 years! The female joey was born in September, but keepers have only just begun seeing her tiny head peeking out from first-time mother Kwikila’s pouch.
Photo Credit: Sam Bennett
Like all marsupials, female Tree Kangaroos have a well-developed pouch in which they carry and nurse their young. The joey, which has not yet been named, will remain in Kwikila’s pouch for several more months. As she grows, the joey will start exploring the world, but mom’s pouch will remain a favorite retreat until she can no longer fit inside.
Tree Kangaroos are different than their ground-dwelling Kangaroo cousins in Australia. They have shorter hind legs and stronger forelimbs to maneuver in the treetops. The long tail provides balance when leaping from branch to branch.
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are native to upland rain forests on the island of New Guinea. They feed on the tough, fibrous leaves of the silkwood tree. These leaves are digested by their specialized stomachs, which are similar to those of ruminants like cows.
Due to habitat loss and illegal hunting for their meat, Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.