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Getting to know ‘roo'

Date: 06 Feb 2017

Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo and curators

Today we welcomed James Andrews, assistant team manager of the twilight team from Chester Zoo.

James flew over to meet members of our team who look after the Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos, as Chester Zoo will soon be joining the global programme which manages the species.

Belfast Zoo was the first UK or Irish zoo to become home to Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos in 2008. Since then we have had great success with the species and, in 2014, we were the first to welcome a joey who was named Yingwie (a name which derives from the Papua New Guinea for ‘first born’). Yingwie is now mature and is due to leave her parents to depart for Paris in the coming weeks, as part of the collaborative breeding programme.

Only 18 zoos internationally are home to Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos and, due to our success and experience with the species, James visited Belfast Zoo on Monday 6 February to learn more about the husbandry, diets, training and management which are required to care for these tree kangaroos. Before Yingwie moves, we will also be welcoming her new keepers from Paris to see how we care for her.

Zoo curator, Andrew Hope, continues “Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are found in the mountainous forests of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia. The population has dramatically declined in the last 30 years due to habitat destruction and hunting. It is vital that zoos around the world work together collaboratively to conserve and protect the future of this species. We are delighted to have met James today, to share our knowledge, and look forward to working with Chester Zoo to ensure the success of the captive population.”