Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of the zoo’s first Dusky Pademelon – a small cousin of the Kangaroo from Indonesia.
The joey has just started to peek out from the pouch of first-time mother Styx.
Dusky Pademelons, also known as Dusky Wallabies, are small, hopping marsupials found in forests on the island of New Guinea, as well as some neighboring islands.
Infants are born 30 days after mating and then continue to grow inside their mother's pouch until they fully emerge at around seven months.
Dave White, Team Manager of the zoo’s Twilight team, said, “Just like Kangaroos and other marsupials, newborn Dusky Pademelons will climb up to the safety of mum’s pouch to nurse when they are merely the size of jellybeans. It’s in that pouch that they receive all of the nourishment and protection they need as they develop, right up to the moment they are old enough to begin exploring the outside world for themselves.”
“An adult Dusky Pademelon’s pouch has a powerful muscle to prevent the joey from falling out, but it won’t be too long until it’s ready to fully emerge and start hopping around on its own two feet. That’s when we’ll discover whether it’s a boy or a girl and choose its name,” White said.
The Dusky Pademelon is listed as Vulnerable to Extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Its population is estimated to have declined by 30% in the last 15-20 years, largely due to trapping, hunting and habitat loss.
Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s Curator of Mammals, said, “Relatively little is known about the Dusky Pademelon and we’re working to better understand these fantastic animals. Through the scientific observations we’re making at the zoo, and all that we’re learning as mum brings up her new joey, we’re able to better document Dusky Pademelon behavior. This could help add to the baseline of data that already exists and help other conservation teams to ensure its long-term survival in the wild.”
See more photos of the joey below.