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.