OHS Creature Feature: Tree-Kangaroo

OHS Creature Feature: Tree-Kangaroo

by Alex Correa

The world is filled with interesting creatures. Let’s meet one of them…

The Dendrolagus goodfellowi– also known as the ‘Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo’ or the ‘Ornate Tree-Kangaroo’– is a species belonging to the Macropodidae family living for the most part in Asia. The species is native to the rainforests of New Guinea and the border of central Irian Jaya in Indonesia. They are named after Walter Goodfellow, a British zoological collector.

The Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo has a soft reddish-brown fur coat. It has golden bands of fur covering its limbs, face, and underbelly. Each one has golden bands stretching upwards from its tail to its back, along with different brown patterns along its body. Unlike ground kangaroos, this Tree-Kangaroo can move their hind feet independently. Their long tail helps them balance and their strong limbs with rubbery soles help them grip branches.

The Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo is herbivorous, and its diet consists primarily of silkwood leaves. It also frequently consumes various flowers, fruits, and grasses.

The Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo is a solitary, territorial animal, so much so that the only close relationship seen between members of this species is one of motherhood. Male Tree-Kangaroos typically gain larger territories than females. While they may live mostly in trees, they forage on the ground and stay near trees in order to find shelter in case of danger. These animals do not have specific sleeping sites, and sleep whenever they feel safe to do so, typically being around 60% of the time. In densely populated areas, they are typically nocturnal. 

Across the areas they inhabit, Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroos are typically hunted for as a source of food. They are also traded for cultural reasons by locals. Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroos are also greatly threatened by deforestation. While their population is undetermined at this time, this species is currently viewed as endangered. 

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