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Tree kangaroo joey, Keweng, is an auspicious symbol for conservation

Posted by Meghan Sawyer, Communications
Photos by Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

World, meet Keweng (kay-wing), or “Kay” as she is affectionately nicknamed for short! 

This sweet female Matschie’s tree kangaroo, born to mom Elanna and dad Rocket in January, is named after a village in the YUS Conservation Area (YUS) in Papua New Guinea. YUS is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, and Keweng is one of the main villages in YUS.

“Keweng is the home of Mambawe Manauno, the first landowner and former tree kangaroo hunter, who showed me tree kangaroos for the very first time in 1996,” explains TKCP founder and Director Lisa Dabek, PhD (also WPZ’s Senior Conservation Scientist). “Manauno was also the 2003 recipient of the Woodland Park Zoo Conservation Award. It’s so great to be able to pay tribute to his work with the naming of this special joey.”

Day by day, little Keweng is becoming more familiar with the world around her. She was first spotted poking her head out of Elanna’s pouch in June, and since then, animal keepers have seen her climbing completely out of the pouch for quick bursts of exploration.

“Keweng is doing great,” says animal keeper Amanda Dukart. “Elanna is doing a wonderful job and is very attentive, and it looks like Keweng is going to be zesty just like her mother!”


In a few months, Keweng will leave her mother’s pouch for the last time and learn to be entirely independent while “at foot” by her mom’s side. Joeys stay with their moms for about 18 months. For now, she enjoys her time close to mom, nibbling on greens and browse that Elanna is eating.

The zoo’s tree kangaroos live in a private area that is off view to the public, but you can follow along here to watch Keweng grow.

To support the conservation work of Woodland Park Zoo's Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, consider visiting to learn more about the program and ways you can join us in saving species like endangered Matschie's tree kangaroos.