Monday 10 December 2018

Meet the tree-dwelling kangaroo moving into Chester Zoo

Sangria was born in San Diego Zoo in 2002, and is moving to Chester as part of a breeding programme.

By Isabel Togoh, Press Association

A tree kangaroo is preparing to make her public debut at Chester Zoo’s new habitat.

Sangria, a 15-year-old Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, will live alongside the UK’s only dusky pademelons – mini kangaroos – as part of a conservation programme to help save the species.

Conservationists hope to introduce Sangria to a male in hopes of birthing little ones.

It is the first time in 87 years that tree kangaroos have resided at the zoo, which will introduce its newest inhabitant to visitors on Thursday.

The animals, native to Papua New Guinea, are smaller and live in trees, hanging off branches using their tails.

But the species, which has seen a 50% decline in its population over the last 30 years, faces threats from hunting and loss of habitat. The animals are listed as endangered by the IUCN.

Some 23 are cared for by zoos across Europe.

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“Many people associate kangaroos with Australia, but the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo actually comes from Papua New Guinea,” said Mike Jordan, collections director at Chester Zoo.

“There are no primates on the island and possibly the last thing you’d think would evolve to live in trees is a kangaroo, but that’s exactly where they are found.”

He added: “Sadly though, these remarkably charismatic and highly interesting animals are teetering on the brink of extinction.

“Hunting for their meat and body parts, combined with deforestation for wood and timber and coffee and rice plantations, has all severely reduced their range and subsequently their numbers.”

Press Association

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