Just in Time for Mother’s Day: Roger Williams Park Zoo Announces Rare Birth

Just in Time for Mother’s Day: Roger Williams Park Zoo Announces Rare Birth

First Matschie’s tree kangaroo birth at RWP Zoo in over 20 years, and one of only three born in captivity in the U.S. last year

Photos and B-roll footage available here >

Providence, R.I. – Just in time for Mother’s Day, Roger Williams Park Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo. This is the first tree roo birth at the Zoo in over 20 years, and one of only three that were born in captivity in the U.S. last year. Tree roos are an endangered species, and are part of RWP Zoo’s Species Survival Program – a cooperative breeding program through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) that aims to rehabilitate endangered and threatened species populations.

Zoo keepers discovered that our female tree kangaroo was pregnant after the announcement of the Zoo’s plans to build a new tree roo exhibit in the Australasia building by spring 2014.  “The first six months after birth is a critical time for both mother and baby. For this reason, we have put construction of the new exhibit on hold until late June 2014,” said Zoo Executive Director, Dr. Jeremy Goodman, DVM. The exhibit will feature indoor and outdoor viewing areas with easy access for the animals between both spaces, giving guests a much improved view of the animals. Opening of the new exhibit is planned for early fall.

The Matschie’s tree kangaroo is indigenous to the rainforests of Papua New Guinea. It is estimated that there are less than 2,500 tree roos left in the wild, because of factors like habitat loss due to logging and mining, as well as hunting. Currently, there are only 53 tree roos in the U.S. living in captivity, and seven in international facilities. Along with our tree roo breeding program, RWP Zoo has also supported and worked with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program (TKCP) since its inception. The TKCP is an organization with the mission of establishing an officially recognized conservation area in Papua New Guinea for tree roos to live without human interference.  

Until the exhibit is completed, images of the baby roo’s development in the pouch will be displayed in the Australasia building so Zoo visitors can appreciate the baby’s first months of life.

Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction and is also a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo has received numerous awards for environmental education, and conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction.  Roger Williams Park Zoo is supported and managed by the Rhode Island Zoological Society and is owned by the City of Providence.

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