Bronx Zoo Welcomes Its First Baby Tree Kangaroo in Over a Decade: 'This Is an Exciting Birth'

The Matschie's tree kangaroo was born at the New York zoo months ago but just started to emerge from its mother's pouch

New Tree Kangaroo Joey is the Bronx Zoo’s First Since 2008
Photo: Julie Larsen Maher ©️ Bronx Zoo

An adorable addition has just debuted at New York's Bronx Zoo.

In a release Friday, the Bronx Zoo announced that a Matschie's tree kangaroo born at the zoo several months ago is starting to emerge from its mother's pouch to make "its anticipated public debut."

The marsupial baby is the first of its species to be born at the zoo since 2008.

While zoogoers are just now getting a peek at the joey's tiny face, that is not the baby kangaroo's first few days of life.

According to the Bronx Zoo, a tree kangaroo is about the size of a human thumbnail at birth. After entering the world, the newborn immediately crawls through its mother's fur to enter her pouch. A majority of tree kangaroo's physical development occurs in their mother's pouch. After about seven months in the pouch, a tree kangaroo joey starts to emerge and peek out at the world.

New Tree Kangaroo Joey is the Bronx Zoo’s First Since 2008
Julie Larsen Maher ©️ Bronx Zoo

"This 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 Bronx Zoo Director, said in a statement. "At this stage of development, the joey will spend a lot of time in his mom's pouch with just its head sticking out. As it matures, it will begin to explore its environment and start spending short periods of time outside the pouch."

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies the Matschie's tree kangaroo, native to Papua New Guinea, as endangered. It is estimated that fewer than 2,500 remain in the wild.

The birth of the zoo's newest tree kangaroo results from the park's participation in a breeding program administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

The program works to match individual animals across AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums for breeding to "maintain genetic diversity and demographic stability in zoo populations."

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