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Photo by Greg Mills
Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo joey emerges for first time from his mother's pouch

A Goodfellows Tree Kangaroo joey at Taronga Zoo Sydney has begun to emerge from their mother’s pouch in time for the autumn school holidays. The joey was born in September last year, but keepers have only begun to see the joey emerge from the mother, Kwikila’s pouch now.

While keepers don’t yet know if the joey is male or female, this is Kwikila, the mother’s second joey and both are doing well. The joey raises the number of Tree Kangaroos at Taronga Zoo Sydney to four, and the worldwide breeding conservation program to 52.

The Tree Kangaroo, native to Papua New Guinea, has evolved from its grounded cousins to live in trees with specially adapted paws for climbing. However, it is classified as endangered due to habitat loss and encroaching human activity, with more than 50 per cent of wild populations lost over three generations. Parum, the joey’s father at Taronga Zoo Sydney, is part of the worldwide breeding program.

Thrilled keepers have been observing the joey’s daily progress, as it emerges each morning and afternoon at feeding time in the lush habitat just below Taronga’s main entrance.

“This is the second Tree Kangaroo joey born at Taronga Zoo Sydney in 24 years, which is wonderful news,” said Keeper Sam.

“Keepers have occasionally seen a leg or tail pop out since then, but now the joey is starting to take a more active interest in the world outside the pouch,” Keeper Sam said.

“Keen-eyed visitors will also be able to spot the joey when it pokes its head out of its mother’s pouch during the day. Guests at the top cafe get a great view of Kwikila, as she loves hanging out high in the trees and is not shy about showing off her little one to the public,” said Keeper, Sam Bennett.

“We’re yet to see the joey fully emerge from the mother’s pouch, but hoping to see more and more throughout the school holidays as it’s getting to be a bit of a tight squeeze inside the pouch,” he said.

Kwikila and her joey can best be seen when gates open at 9:30am, or during afternoons just before closing between 4-5pm.

UPDATE: Keepers have now confirmed that the joey is male, although yet to be named.

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