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Baby reveal! Adorable tree kangaroo joey emerges from mom’s pouch

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

We’re jumping for joey over our latest baby reveal—an 8-month-old Matschie’s tree kangaroo! The male joey was born last August to mom Omari and dad Rocket and he weighs two pounds already. His name is Havam which is the word for “tree kangaroo” in one of the many languages of the YUS Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea, home to wild and endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroos.

It is normal for marsupials to spend their first months of life completely in their mother’s pouch—so it’s no surprise that Havam is just now starting to venture out and explore. Tree kangaroos are born hairless, blind and only the size of a jelly bean. In order to survive, the joey must quickly crawl from the birth canal, through its mother’s fur and into her pouch to immediately start nursing. At first, Havam did get a little bit too eager to make his debut, explains animal keeper Beth Carlyle-Askew.

“Havam exited Omari’s pouch a little early—we actually had to put him back in to finish growing for a few more months. Luckily an animal keeper saw him outside the pouch and knew exactly what to do. She kept him warm by putting him in her shirt, then put him in a fabric pouch with a heated pad until he could be returned to Omari’s pouch,” said Carlyle-Askew.

As each day passes, little Havam is getting more familiar with the world around him. He makes short trips out of the pouch to explore his new home, but he still prefers the warmth and safety of Omari’s pouch. When he’s not nursing, Havam is starting to try solid foods, sampling all of his mom’s food to figure out what he likes best. He’s even been learning to climb up and around in his habitat! When he is 14 months old, Havam will wean from nursing and eventually become fully independent.

Watch Havam try to nibble mama's snacks:
Havam is the third joey for dad Rocket, who fathered Havam’s half-siblings Ecki and Keweng, born to the zoo’s other female tree kangaroo Elanna in 2018 and 2020, respectively. This is the fourth joey for Omari, who had three other joeys at another zoo before coming to live here. All of the zoo’s tree kangaroos are currently living in a habitat that is off view to the public.

The YUS Conservation Area in Papua New Guinea is home to Woodland Park Zoo’s renowned Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program. This program works to protect the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo and to help maintain the unique biodiversity of its native Papua New Guinea in balance with the culture and needs of the people who live there.

"Can I taste?" Nom, nom, nom ...

All this amazing work for the people and wildlife of Papua New Guinea would not be possible without support from donors and organizations like the Shared Earth Foundation, which ensures that all creatures have an enduring claim to sustainable space on this planet.

Want to help save this endangered species? Consider supporting the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program here: