A zoo in England has released several photos of a baby Dusky pademelon – a species of marsupial sometimes called a “miniature kangaroo” – emerging from its mother’s pouch.
Staff at Chester Zoo in the north west managed to capture the moment when the new baby, known as Joey, peeked out of the pouch for the first time.
Marsupials are a group of mammals known for giving birth to infants at an early stage. In most species, the young then continue their development in the mother’s pouch.
Dusky pademelons — also known as dusky wallabies — are found only in the forests of New Guinea, a large island north of Australia, and a few smaller islands in Indonesia.
These marsupials bear a resemblance to their close relative, the kangaroo, but they grow much smaller, hence their nickname.
While adult male red kangaroos — the largest species of kangaroo — can reach more than 5 feet tall, dusky pademelons typically only grow to about 2 feet tall, according to the Billabong Sanctuary.
Speaking of the moment zoo staff first spotted the pademelon baby, zoo keeper Megan Carter said: “When we noticed that mother Styx was slowly gaining weight, we began to monitor her behavior and feeding patterns extra closely, and we did also hopeful that she’s raising a baby.”
“We were delighted to see the magical moment your new arrival peeked out of the pouch for the first time!”
Dark pademelon infants are born just 30 days after a successful mating in their mother’s birth canal. At this stage they are about the size of a jelly bean.
“When a dark colored pademelon joey is first born it’s only about the size of a gum bean, so it stays in the safety of mom’s pouch for about six months, where it gets all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop,” said Carter called.
At the end of this time, the young is ready to emerge from its mother’s pouch. A spokesman for Chester Zoo said news week that they often spend some time exploring before jumping back into their mother’s pouch – all until they have the confidence to be fully independent.
“It will take a couple of weeks for the new baby to fully emerge and hop around and explore everything on its own – then we can determine if it’s male or female and give it an appropriate name,” Carter said.
Unfortunately, wild populations of dusky pademelons have declined by about 30 percent over the past 20 years, due to a mix of factors including trapping, hunting and deforestation.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the species as critically endangered.
“The demise of the dusky pademelons has largely gone under the radar for quite some time as little is known about these Indonesian kangaroos,” Carter said.
“But with the new information we’re gathering and the scientific observations our teams are making about how they live and raise their young, we can help better inform future conservation efforts in the wild and this critically endangered species urgently needs it.” to give needed attention.”
According to Chester Zoo, only 56 specimens of this species live in captivity across Europe.