A rare baby tree-kangaroo has been filmed emerging after six months inside its mother’s pouch.
The joey is the first to be born at the Healesville Sanctuary in Victoria, Australia, and is a rare species of kangaroo – the endangered Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo.
After a routine pouch-check earlier this year, keepers discovered that Mani, the mother kangaroo, had a tiny joey – the size of jelly bean – growing in her pouch.
Mani and her breeding partner Bagam were successfully paired at the beginning of 2016 as part of the sanctuary’s conservation project, in the hope to protect and recover the Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo population.
You can watch the moment the joey emerges here:
The joey spent six months inside the pouch before popping its head out for the first time. Over the next few months, the little guy will continue to venture in and out of the pouch more and more, gradually becoming more independent as it learns from its parents.
Tree-kangaroos are, unsurprisingly, related to their ground-dwelling counterparts, but – you guessed it – have adapted to living in trees. In fact, they’re so well adapted they are often clumsy when walking on the ground, preferring their tree-top lifestyle.
Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroos are an endangered species, threatened by hunting and habitat loss.
Zoos Victoria are working with other sanctuaries and organisations across the world to save the species from extinction.
Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroos are listed as endangered on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, and have been since 1994.
Listed as Endangered based on an ongoing population decline of at least 50% over the past three generations (i.e., 30 years) due to actual levels of exploitation from hunting and a decline in habitat quality. It has already been extirpated from significant portions of its range.
The species is highly threatened by hunting for food and is traded internally for cultural reasons by local people, and additionally by habitat loss through local deforestation for wood and timber, and by shifting cultivation and coffee plantations and rice (dryland) and wheat.
The Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo is native to Papua New Guinea, and currently has a population of just over 2,000 individuals in the wild.
The partnership between organisations in Papua New Guinea, Australia and America is working to combat this loss of wildlife.
Australia is, of course, more well known for its none-tree-based ‘roos, and it’s not an uncommon sight to see them out and about.
Like these two perfect specimens, who are battling it out in a suburban street in Australia.
Standing on their tails, the fighting ‘roos are able to deliver powerful, two-footed kicks to each other, as well as the expected punches the animals are known to throw.
In what can only be described as a violent dance between two kangaroos vying for dominance, as if one had wandered onto the others turf and they had to put back in their place, the fighting animals were caught on camera by an innocent bystander, who was undoubtedly thankful the kangaroos were keeping it within the family.
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Charlie Cocksedge is a journalist at UNILAD. He graduated from the University of Manchester with an MA in Creative Writing, where he learnt how to write in the third person, before getting his NCTJ. His work has also appeared in such places as The Guardian, PN Review and the bin.