Matschie’s tree kangaroos are one of 13 species of kangaroo that spend most of their time in trees (arboreal). Powerful forelimbs and independent hind limbs make them agile climbers. Rubbery foot pads and curved claws give them extra traction and a firm grip. Unlike other kangaroos, they can hop or walk moving one limb then the other.
What They Eat
The dense foliage of the rainforest supplies tree kangaroos with a steady diet of leaves. They are also known to eat flowers, fruit, ferns, moss and bark.
Where They Live
These kangaroos are at home in dense, mountainous rainforests at elevations of 3,000 to 11,000 feet. They spend most of their time in trees, but come down occasionally to feed.
What They Do
Other than a mother and her young, tree kangaroos live alone. A female gives birth to one or two jellybean-sized babies called “joeys.” Blind, pink, and hairless, the joeys then climb into her pouch where they continue to grow and develop for up to a year.
How They’re Doing
Because of overhunting and habitat loss, the Matschie’s tree-kangaroo is currently considered endangered.
To keep cool on hot days, tree kangaroos pant, rest in the shade, and lick the fur on their arms.
New Guinea and the surrounding islands make up the largest remaining tropical wilderness in the Asia-Pacific region. Tree kangaroo populations are currently threatened by overhunting, and habitat lost due to agriculture, logging, oil exploration, and mining.
Things the Zoo's done/doing
Since 1996, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) has been working in Papua New Guinea to promote the conservation of tree kangaroos and their habitat. Through field research, educational outreach, and habitat protection, the TKCP enlists the help of the local villagers to carry out conservation programs. In return, villagers learn to manage their natural resources sustainably.
The Minnesota Zoo has supported the TKCP both financially and in the field. In addition, we have contributed funds for the publication of the Tree Kangaroo Husbandry Manual, a comprehensive care guide available to zoos and conservation organizations worldwide.
The Minnesota Zoo, in partnership with other North American Zoos, is working to maintain genetic diversity in captive populations, provide conservation education, protect native habitats, and conduct field research in order to help save this rare and endangered species.