Oakvale Wildlife Park, Salt Ash, Port Stephens is at the centre of industry excitement after welcoming a Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo joey to the world – the first Lumholtz tree kangaroo has been born outside a Queensland zoological facility in history.
Meet Sofus, a beautiful little 7-month-old Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo!
In February 2019, after working with Dreamworld and Dr Karen Coombes from Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre on a breeding program for this species; Oakvale Wildlife Park became the first institution outside of Queensland to house this near-threatened species in a purpose-built facility. The breeding program hopes to achieve improved connectivity of populations and encourage genetic exchange. With only an estimated 10,000 – 30,000, Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo left in the wild, the birth of Sofus is a significant step forward in preserving this species.
The Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo is endemic to Far North Queensland; they mainly occur at high elevations in rainforests, being rarely found in lowlands. It is a non-territorial solitary animal, spending 99% of its time in trees. Due to the clearing of their habitat, dog attacks, road accidents and a mystery virus that is likely to cause them to go blind, these kangaroos need protection.
Angela Lambert, Oakvale Wildlife Park’s Curator, said: “Our keepers discovered Adel was pregnant in March; since then, they have been tracking and monitoring the growth, development and conducting routine welfare checks on mum and bubs. Our team ensures minimal interference in the growth and development of Sofus; this includes currently not knowing joey’s gender. Adel has kept a watchful eye over her joey as a first-time mum and guided Sofus when exploring outside the pouch.
It took around 178 days of developing inside Adel’s pouch before Sofus popped their head out of the pouch; you should have heard the cheers from our team. It is an exciting and historical time for the keepers working directly with our Lumholtz Tree Kangaroos. Sofus will bring some valuable new genetics to the breeding program to assist in preserving this amazing animal.
In the wild, the Lumholtz Tree Kangaroo is a solitary animal; however, after being born, a joey will stay with its mother for 1 ½ - 2 years, and the mother will teach it how to climb and navigate trees and also explore what different food they can eat. Males do not have a role in raising the young, so Csi will remain separate.”