MIAMI (CBSMiami) – In front of a camera, a still-hairless joey popped its head out of its kangaroo mother’s pouch to greet Zoo Miami for the first time.
The three-and-a-half-year-old Matchie tree kangaroo is believed to have given birth approximately five months ago, but her offspring, called a joey, still hairless, has just begun to peak out of its mother’s pouch.
As most marsupials, tree kangaroos are born in an almost embryonic state after a pregnancy of about 44 days.
The newborn, the size of a jellybean, slowly crawls into the mother’s pouch where it locks onto a nipple and then development begins.
Matchie Tree Kangaroos are believed to be solitary animals and the only strong social bond formed is between a mother and her offspring.
The new mother and her joey will remain off exhibit for several weeks to allow for proper bonding and to help facilitate a smooth introduction for the young kangaroo.
The mother of the joey is on loan to Zoo Miami from Brownsville Zoo in Texas and the five-year-old father is on loan from New York’s Bronx Zoo.
Zoo Miami is, and has been for a while, a contributor to Matchie’s tree kangaroo conservation efforts in the wilds of New Guinea.
As part of the breeding loan agreement, the female belongs to the Brownsville Zoo and will eventually become part of the international captive breeding program.
Matchie’s tree kangaroos spend most of their time living in trees feeding on leaves, ferns, moss and bark. The animals can be found in the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea.