Species of the month
Huon Tree Kangaroo
Some facts on this kangaroo:
Head and body length: 50 to 75 cm.
Weight: About 7.5 to 10 kg.
Habitat: Montane forests, including cloud forests in high-elevation areas.
Range: The Huon peninsula of Papua New Guinea.
Diet: Mainly leaves and ferns; also sap, insects, flowers, and nuts.
Surviving number: Estimated at 2,500 adults.
Conservation status: Endangered (IUCN 3.1).
Dendrolagus matschiei, like all its cousins, is a great hopper, but this kangaroo has an additional gift: it is also an exceptional climber. Using stout, muscular forearms for a strong grip, long tails for balance and broad feet with non-slip soles, it moves with ease through the forest, foraging for leaves and ferns. Males may mate with multiple females, yet the females remain independent and care for their offspring by themselves. Like their kangaroo relatives, the young crawl into their mother's pouch for safety and nourishment. Unfortunately, all the hopping and climbing can't protect this species from two threats it faces: habitat loss and hunting. The genus Dendrolagus or "Tree-kangaroos" contains 12 species adapted for life in trees. They inhabit the rainforests of New Guinea, far northeastern Queensland, and nearby islands.
See also: Species of previous months