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Tree Kangaroo

Tree Kangaroo

Status: Endangered
Classification: Mammals
Scientific Name: Dendrolagus matschiei

The tree kangaroos are classified under the class of mammals with milk glands and subclass of changing mammals i.e. Metatheria. They are in the family of Macropodidae in the order of Pouched Mammals i.e. Marsupialia. The tree kangaroos include about 54 species of kangaroos of the genus of Dendrolagus. The tree kangaroos live in Huon Peninsula of the northeastern New Guinea.

The name "Kangaroo" has been attributed from a native word of Australia that comes out of the Queensland area. Since these Kangaroos live mostly on trees, they are named as the Tree Kangaroos. These kangaroos are now mainly found in New Guinea, since their population is decreasing in Australia at an enormous rate.

Tree Kangaroo

They are arboreal as well as terrestrial by nature and love to live in the rain forests. The Tree Kangaroos mainly feed on leaves and fruits or any other food sources of herbivorous nature. They can jump from tree to tree and can stick to trees as well, with the help of specialised cushioned feet.

The tree kangaroos are large and heavy weighing marsupials. They are owners of very powerful limbs and long cylindrical tail with short rounded ears. They possess short and soft fur that is gray colored on the posterior side and lighter gray on the anterior side. They have a unique black snout, toes and tail tip, through which they are easily identified in the rainy forests.

The tree kangaroos live on altitudes as high as 6000 feet ( 1,828 metres) and more and spend most of their time on the trees. The average height ranges from 37 to 70 inches i.e. 94-179 cm and adult males weigh about 20-25 pounds (9 - 11 kg) while the adult females weigh about 15-20 pounds (6.8 - 9.0 kg). Their average life span is up to 20 years in zoos, but their life span in still unknown in the forests. They can leap up to 15 metres from one tree to another tree.

Tree Kangaroo

The tree kangaroos possess enlarged front limbs and reduced hind limbs with long sharp claws and rough footpads. They are especially well adapted to their arboreal life, since they climb tree trunks, leap from one tree to other 10 to 20 feet (304 to 609 cm) from one branch to another so skillfully using their non-prehensile tail. When they anticipate any kind of danger, they quickly leap down from about 50 to 60 feet (15.24 to 18.28 metres) high-tree branches to the ground, totally unharmed, rather than escaping through the treetops.

Although the exact number of the tree kangaroo species is still unknown to the forest researchers, various authority sources believe them to be eight to ten. Among different species of the tree kangaroos, mainly two Australian species are categorised by the IUCN as endangered. The Goodfellow's, Doria's, Matschie's, Tenkile and the Dingiso are threatened to be the most endangered. The primary cause of endangering of these tree kangaroos is the destruction of their habitats by logging, exploration for minerals and oil and destruction for agriculture. The tree kangaroos are also being hunted for meat in New Guinea areas.

The number of the Matschie's tree kangaroos is constantly reported to be declining year after year. Their breeding habit and processes are still unknown to the scientists. The only information available to them is that their gestation period is approximately of 32 days and usually 1 young one is born at a time with no distinctively well-defined breeding season.

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