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Tree Kangaroos - Hopping Closer to Extinction

BY DIONNE LISTER

When I was asked me to do an article on tree kangaroos I thought it was a joke, what the heck is a tree kangaroo? Well, thank goodness for Google. Even though I'm Australian, I had never heard about tree kangaroos - that tells you how rare they are. They are virtually extinct in Australia and are considered endangered in their other habitats in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. They are tree-dwelling marsupials and their babies hang out in the mother’s pouch for around eight months.

They don't look much like the traditional kangaroo. Tree kangaroos are reddish brow to grey, have short fur and a long tail. Their height can be anything from around 41 cm to 77 cm (this doesn’t include their bushy tail). Food they like to much on includes leaves, fruit, flowers and occasionally eggs or small birds.

Their situation is dire because of loss of habitat due to logging and food production, and hunting, as they are a food source for humans. They are even listed as a "priority species" on the WWF website - meaning they are super endangered and one of the species we can least likely afford to lose. WWF are working closely with the PNG government to preserve habitat and stop hunting. We can do our bit by ensuring timber products we buy are from sustainable plantations certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. To find out more visit the WWF website. 

What do you think?


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