Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of the
zoo’s first dusky pademelon.
The adorable joey has just started to peek out from the pouch of first-time mum Styx after being born earlier in the spring.
Dusky pademelons, also known as dusky wallabies, are small, hopping marsupials found in forests on the island of New Guinea, as well as some neighbouring islands.
Infants are born 30 days after mating and then continue to grow inside their mother’s pouches 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.
The joey here – the first to ever be born at the zoo – has just started to peek out from mum Styx’s pouch. She’s a first time mum and it’s really lovely to see her hopping around with her new baby. 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.
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.
Experts from the IUCN say that close monitoring of the species is needed to ensure the continued health and survival of the dusky pademelon in New Guinea.
Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s Curator of Mammals, added:
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 behaviour. 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.