Springtime matchmaking at Perth Zoo
Perth Zoo is celebrating the arrival of a male Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo, one of only 14 to be cared for by a zoo anywhere in the world.
‘Huli’ the three year old male recently arrived from Queensland to be introduced to the Zoo’s two resident females ‘Kaluli’ and ‘Doba’ in hopes of breeding this endangered Papua New Guinean species.
Acting Australian Fauna Supervisor, Stephen Catwell, said: “With this being an endangered species in the wild, zoos around the world are coordinating their breeding programs to try and reverse their decline.”
“Our two girls have been waiting for a boy for a while now, to say they were excited when Huli moved into the exhibit next door was an understatement!” said Stephen.
Within the last week Perth Zoo Keepers introduced Huli to both of the females.
“He’s still young and was a bit shocked by Kaluli but after a couple of days rest we then introduced him to Doba who he took more of a liking to. It’s still very early days but we’ve got our fingers crossed for tree kangaroo joeys in the future.”
“Welcoming a newborn tree kangaroo into the world is our ultimate goal, we haven’t bred Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos since the 1980s,” said Stephen.
Female tree kangaroos give birth to one offspring after a gestation period of approximately 44 days.
“They’re initially born about the size of a jellybean and remain inside their mother’s pouches for approximately eight to ten months before beginning to poke its head out and take in the world around it.”
“We’ve begun training Kaluli and Doba to allow us to check their pouches, so we can track the development of a joey if our matchmaking proves successful.”
Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroos are classified as endangered, with numbers in the wild decreasing due to habitat loss and human encroachment. They are also used as a food source by local village people.
Perth Zoo’s work to save tree kangaroos from extinction extends beyond the Zoo’s borders.
The Zoo funds the Tenkile Conservation Alliance to safeguard populations in the wilds of Papua New Guinea. This organisation works with more than 50 village communities to protect and conserve the remaining tree kangaroos in the region as well as conducting regular surveys to get proper population data on the remaining animals in existence.
Huli, Kaluli and Doba can be viewed at Perth Zoo’s recently refurbished Tree Kangaroo exhibit