30 May 2018

Sangria, a Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, has arrived as part of a global conservation breeding programme for the species, which is in grave danger of extinction in the wild.

Zoo conservationists plan to introduce the 15-year-old to a male in the hope that the pair will start a new furry family!

It is the first time in the zoo’s 87-year history that the animals have resided at Chester, after moving into a new exhibit inside the zoo’s South East Asian Islands zone. Sangria will live alongside the UK’s only dusky pademelons – a rare species of miniature wallaby. The Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is a tree-dwelling marsupial, native to the mountainous rainforests of Papua New Guinea. Much smaller than their common cousins, tree kangaroos live off the ground, using their tails to hang from branches and their strong limbs for climbing. However, the species is now under threat from hunting and habitat destruction in its homeland and around half of its population has been lost in the last 30 years.

Mike Jordan, Collections Director at Chester Zoo, said:

Many people associate kangaroos with Australia but the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo actually comes from Papua New Guinea. There are no primates on the island and possibly the last thing you’d think would evolve to live in trees is a kangaroo, but that’s exactly where they are found.  They are very well adapted to live in forests with a long tail to give balance when jumping from branch to branch, curved claws and rubbery soles to help with grip when climbing and strong, stocky arms to help them grasp tree trunks.Sadly though, these remarkably charismatic and highly interesting animals are teetering on the brink of extinction. Hunting for their meat and body parts, combined with deforestation for wood and timber and coffee and rice plantations, has all severely reduced their range and subsequently their numbers. We really hope that Sangria, in her new home, will help us to create some much needed awareness of the species and its plight in the wild.

The new tree kangaroo and dusky pademelon habitat will be open to visitors to the zoo as of Thursday 24 May. Other new species that have made their first appearances in the zoo’s Islands zone are the Prevosts’s squirrels, cloud rats and tree shrews.

Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo fast facts

  • Tree kangaroos are listed as endangered by the IUCN. They face a very high risk of becoming extinct in the wild
  • Have a long tail to give added balance when jumping distances of up to 9m
  • Long curved claws and rubbery soles to help with grip when climbing
  • Strong, stocky arms to help them to climb and grasp onto tree trunks
  • They have a chambered stomach for breaking down and absorbing a tough diet of flowers, grasses and leaves
  • Our very own tree kangaroo, Sangria, was born at San Diego Zoo on 16/12/2002