Good Fellow's Tree Kangaroo

Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus Goodfellow) is one of the most iconic endangered species of Papua New Guinea. This species is one of the most widespread tree kangaroo species, being found across the mid and lower-montane regions of the mountainous central spine of Papua New Guinea: extending from the Indonesian border to Milne Bay province. Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo is easily identifiable from its dark ears and beautiful burgundy pelt marked by parallel golden stripes running either side of its rump. It inhabits Castanopsis forest throughout the highlands at elevations between 700 – 2,500m. Unfortunately, this forest type is often deliberately cleared by village people in order to make subsistence gardens. As a consequence the species’ habitat is gradually being eaten away while at the same time the species is being over-hunted for its beautiful pelt. Much of the basic biology of the species is unknown, but it is currently thought to breed every second year which means the population is unlikely to be able to cope with even low levels of hunting. WCS’s initial research into this tree kangaroo came about through a project examining the interaction between nature and culture in Papua New Guinea. WCS staff painstakingly enumerated the use of wildlife in Papua New Guinea by identifying all wildlife species worn by performers at 11 cultural shows from 2012-2013. This lead to a section of the Bismark Range between Eastern Highlands and Chimbu Province  being identified as a “hotspot” for Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo. WCS has now embarked on an 8-year project engaging with a number of communities and community based organisations in the area to safeguard the species’ habitat, and reduce the threats to wildlife from hunting. 

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