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Miracle Tree Kangaroo Becomes a Dad at Singapore Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: July 31, 2020 11:00 am

Tree kangaroo joey singapore

Nupela and her new joey at Singapore Zoo

Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Singapore Zoo has introduced their goodfellow’s tree kangaroo joey born to mum, Nupela and dad Makia. Makia was raised using a revolutionary process at Adelaide Zoo in 2015 after his mother was killed by a fallen tree.

Keepers at Singapore Zoo were able to witness the birth of the joey on February 4th. After a short 40 day gestation the joey which was just the size of a jellybean crawled in to mom's pouch where it has been developing since.

Keepers report that the joey is growing well. He has been checked daily since birth and on July 7th he popped his head out of the pouch for the first time.

Tree kangaroo joey singapore
Tree kangaroo joey singapore

Nupela and her new joey at Singapore Zoo

Photo Credit: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

Makia and Nupela came together at Singapore Zoo in 2016 from Adelaide and Taronga Zoos respectively. Their transfer was part of the Global Species Management Plan (GSMP) which aims to create a viable insurance population of these threatened animals.

Currently just 58 goodfellows tree kangaroos can be found in zoos across Australia, Singapore, Japan, North America and Europe. These zoos work together to exchange animals to prevent inbreeding.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists this species as endangered in the wild where they live in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

Dr Cheng Wen-Haur, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore, said: “In these uncertain times, the birth of this Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is certainly a ray of light for the Global Species Management Plan. Such programmes (sic) enable zoos the world over to breed threatened species in a scientific and coordinated manner to achieve demographic and genetic sustainability. Together with conservation efforts in the animals’ natural habitats, these breeding programmes (sic) help to ensure the survival of the species.”

Tree kangaroo joey singapore

Makia while he was being raised at Adelaide Zoo

Photo Credit: Adelaide Zoo

This birth is extra special considering the tough start to life that faced dad Makia. Born at Adelaide Zoo in 2015 his mum passed away while he was still in the pouch.

In an effort to ensure his survival keepers tried a world first by transferring him in to the pouch of a yellow footed rock wallaby. This process known as cross-foster had been used by Adelaide Zoo since the 1990s to increase the population of endangered rock wallabies which would be raised in the pouch of more common wallabies.

Curator at Adelaide Zoo, Mark Smith said, “Cross-fostering is a technique that Adelaide Zoo began pioneering in the 1990s and involves the transfer of endangered joeys to the pouch of a surrogate mother of a different wallaby species.

“Although Zoos SA had success with cross-fostering wallaby species the technique had never been used on a tree kangaroo. Tree kangaroos are distant relatives of wallabies but they have many behavioural and physical differences. We had no idea if the Yellow-footed Rock-wallaby would accept the tree kangaroo joey, but if we wanted to save the joey we had to try our luck. Fortunately it worked. Huge congratulations to Makia and everyone at Singapore Zoo,” finished Mark.

Tree kangaroo joey singapore

Makia with his adoptive mother at Adelaide Zoo

Photo Credit: Adelaide Zoo

Nupela and her joey are currently on display at Singapore Zoo. Makia is enjoying time off exhibit to give the joey time to bond with mom.

Learn more about Singapore Zoo on their website – Singapore Zoo

Learn more about Adelaide Zoo on their website – Adelaide Zoo

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