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.
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.
Tree-kangaroos are part of the macropod family and are closely related to their ground-dwelling counterparts, such as Wallabies and Kangaroos.
Tree-kangaroos are well adapted to the treetop lifestyle – they are agile climbers and can be clumsy on the ground. Tree-kangaroos live in rainforests across Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and far-north Queensland. There are 14 species of Tree-kangaroo, most are incredibly rare and populations are in decline.
Mani, Bagam, and now their little joey, are ambassadors for their wild cousins, helping to connect people to animals they may well never see in the wild. Just in time for the school holidays, Healesville Sanctuary visitors are able to see the adorable trio on display in the Kangaroo Country exhibit.
For more information about the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, visit: https://www.zoo.org.au/fighting-extinction/international-programs-and-grants/tree-kangaroo-conservation-program