Families visiting Bronx Zoo have amazing sight to see: Rare baby tree kangaroo

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A baby Matschie’s tree kangaroo made its public debut at the Bronx Zoo in New York City on Friday — and was seen poking its head out of its mother’s pouch as it took in the world around it.

The birth of this rare tree kangaroo joey “is an exciting birth for the Bronx Zoo and a unique opportunity for people to observe one of nature’s most intriguing evolutionary adaptations,” Jim Breheny, the zoo’s director, said in a news release.

At birth, the joey is about the size of a human thumbnail.

The Bronx Zoo is one of the largest zoos in the U.S. by area; it’s comprised of 265 acres of park lands and naturalistic habitats. 

A Matschie's tree kangaroo is seen peering out from its mother's pouch on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The joey is the first of its species born at the zoo since 2008. 

A Matschie’s tree kangaroo is seen peering out from its mother’s pouch on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Bronx Zoo in New York City. The joey is the first of its species born at the zoo since 2008. 

The rare tree kangaroo is much smaller than Australia’s well-known red kangaroo. An adult male Matschie’s tree kangaroo weighs between 20 and 25 lb.

As it matures, the baby kangaroo — also known as a joey — will begin to explore its environment and start spending more time outside the pouch.

At birth, the joey is oh so tiny — about the size of a human thumbnail. 

Once born, the animal immediately crawls through the mother’s fur to enter her pouch.

Also known as the Huon tree kangaroo, this animal is native to the forests of the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea.

After about seven months, the joey emerges from the pouch, though it often returns to nurse.

The joey is the first of its species born at the Bronx Zoo since 2008. 

The rare tree kangaroo is much smaller than Australia’s well-known red kangaroo. An adult male Matschie’s tree kangaroo weighs 20-25 lbs.

The rare tree kangaroo is much smaller than Australia’s well-known red kangaroo. An adult male Matschie’s tree kangaroo weighs 20-25 lbs.
(iStock)

It’s the result of the zoo’s participation in a cooperative breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Reuters reported.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Matschie’s tree kangaroo as endangered and estimates that fewer than 2,500 remain in the wild. Also known as the Huon tree kangaroo, it is native to the forests of the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea.

Though these animals are believed to be solitary, the mother and offspring form a strong bond.

Tree kangaroos are arboreal and live within the canopy of mountain forests, generally at elevations above 4,000 feet (1.22 km). Fourteen different species of tree kangaroos are found in areas of Papua New Guinea, Indonesia and Australia, Reuters also noted.

A Matschie's tree kangaroo emerges from its mother's pouch, on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The joey is the first of its species born at the zoo since 2008. 

A Matschie’s tree kangaroo emerges from its mother’s pouch, on Monday, April 18, 2022, at the Bronx Zoo in New York. The joey is the first of its species born at the zoo since 2008. 
(Julie Larsen Maher/Bronx Zoo via AP)

Nearly four years ago, Zoo Miami officials in Florida released a video of their own Matschie’s tree kangaroo, born in October 2018, as it peeked out of its mother’s pouch and unfurled its long tail. 

After seven months, the joey was just then revealing itself on a regular basis. 

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The species spends most of its time in trees, the Florida zoo said at the time. Its diet consists of mostly leaves, moss and bark. 

Though these animals are believed to be solitary, the mother and offspring form a strong bond.

While the average lifespan of these animals is unknown, it is likely 15-20 years. 

Tree kangaroos are difficult to study in the wild, according to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (zoo.org). 

A brand new baby Matschie's tree kangaroo can be seen here within its mother's pouch, on Monday, April 18, 2022, at New York City's Bronx Zoo. 

A brand new baby Matschie’s tree kangaroo can be seen here within its mother’s pouch, on Monday, April 18, 2022, at New York City’s Bronx Zoo. 

While the average lifespan of these animals is unknown, it is likely 15-20 years. 

In captivity, however, they can live for more than 20 years, the same source noted. 

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The oldest known tree kangaroo is 27 years old.

Reuters, as well as Stephen Sorace of Fox News Digital, contributed reporting to this article.

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