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Sunday Species Snapshot: Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Goodfellow's tree-kangarooYes, there are kangaroos that live in trees. Like the famous hoppers of Australia, tree-kangaroos are marsupials. Unlike ground kangaroos, tree-kangaroos are adapted for arboreal life, making them particularly vulnerable to deforestation.

Species name: Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo, a.k.a. the ornate tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi).

Where found: The rainforests of Papua New Guinea, mostly in mountain regions.

IUCN Red List status: Endangered.

Major threats: Hunting and habitat loss, including deforestation for timber and fuel wood and the creation of coffee plantations and other agriculture. The species has already disappeared from much of its former range, especially in low elevations.

Notable conservation programs: Tree-kangaroos aren’t all that well-studied and conservation efforts to date are fairly limited. Of note is the Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, which so far has protected more than 750 square kilometers of habitat for all tree-kangaroo species. Some zoos also hold tree-kangaroos in their collections. Sydney Zoo just welcomed the first Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo joey born in captivity in Australia in more than 20 years. This is the first success in a new captive breeding program.

Multimedia: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo also welcomed a Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo joey in 2010. You can see mother and child in the video below:

Photo by Richard Ashurt via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license

Previous Sunday Snapshots:

John R. Platt About the Author: Twice a week, John Platt shines a light on endangered species from all over the globe, exploring not just why they are dying out but also what's being done to rescue them from oblivion. Follow on Twitter @johnrplatt.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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