The UKs first ever Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo has been born at Belfast Zoo. The joey was first spotted on 1 May 2014 moving around in the pouch but has only just poked its head out of the pouch in the past few weeks.
Only six Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos live in the Entirety of Europe and Belfast has the only pair within the United Kingdom. The zoo says that this is a ‘momentous arrival’ which they are very excited to celebrate. The Manager of Belfast Zoo, Mar Challis said, “Belfast Zoo is home to a number of extremely rare and endangered species and, while the team are always ecstatic when any of the animals successfully breed, we are particularly over the moon with the arrival of the tree kangaroo joey! Only 13 zoos internationally are home to Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos so the arrival of our joey is spectacular! The population of Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo has dramatically declined in the last 30 years due to the habitat destructions and hunting. Zoos have an important and active role to play in their conservation and I am proud that Belfast is leading the way for Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo in the UK and Ireland.”
The zoo’s pair of tree kangaroos moved in during 2013. The male is called Hasu-Hasu and the female is known as Jaya. Hope Andrew Hope, the zoo curator, said, “Like all marsupials, female tree kangaroos carry and nurse their young in their pouch. Keepers first noticed movement in the pouch back in May but it is only recently that the joey has started to make an appearance. The joey will remain in Jaya’s pouch for several more months before starting to explore and, for this reason, it is not yet possible for keepers to determine the sex or the name of the latest arrival.”
The Goodfellows tree kangaroo is a native of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They are found in the mountainous rainforests and can climb 15 to 20 feet into the trees. When moving between trees they may leap up to 30 feet.
Photo Credit: Belfast Zoo