/ ©: Terry Domico / WWF-Canon

Tree kangaroo

Tree kangaroos are unique macropods who have adapted to a life in trees. Loss of habitat and uncontrolled hunting have forced many species close to extinction.

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Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi)
© Scott Savage http://www.flickr.com/photos/themachobox/4166033790/

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Key Facts

  • Common Name

    Tree kangaroo

  • Scientific Name

    genus: Dendrolagus

  • Status

    Least concern to critically endangered

  • How many?

    There are 14 different species

A tree climbing kangaroo?

Physical Description
Unlike their close cousins, the tree kangaroo's arms and legs are approximately the same length. Tree kangaroos also have much stronger fore-limbs to help in climbing the trees they inhabit.

Size
Length: 41-77cm
Tail length: 40-87cm
Weight: up to 14.5kg

Habitat
Montane tropical foresst

Range States:
Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Australia

Population & Distribution

Tree kangaroos have suffered from loss of habitat, and many species have suffered severe reductions in their range. The Wondiwoi tree kangaroo is critically endangered (possibly extinct) with as few as 50 individuals remaining. Similarly, the critically endangered dingiso has suffered a population decline in excess of 80% over the last 30 years.

Diet
Living in the trees, the tree kangaroo eats mostly leaves and fruit, although they will also collect fruit that has fallen to the ground. The animals will also eat other items such as grains, flowers, sap, eggs, young birds, and even bark.
Bennett's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus) on the branch of a tree. The Bennett's ... / ©: Martin HARVEY / WWF-Canon
Bennett's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus bennettianus) on the branch of a tree. The Bennett's tree-kangaroo is a rare and vulnerable Arboreal marsupial, Australia.
© Martin HARVEY / WWF-Canon

What are the main threats?

The major threats facing tree kangaroo species are hunting and habitat loss.

Tree kangaroos have been hunted for food by indigenous communities across their range. For a number of species, this factor alone has contributed to a sharp decline in population numbers.

Habitat loss and degradation means that many species now inhabit a restricted range. Habitat has been removed for logging and timber production, or converted to coffee, rice or wheat production. This loss of habitat can also expose tree kangaroos to predation by domestic dogs.

Priority species

Tree kangaroos are a priority species. WWF treats priority species as one of the most ecologically, economically and/or culturally important species on our planet. And so we are working to ensure such species can live and thrive in their natural habitats.

What is WWF doing?

WWF's fight to ensure tree kangaroos do not become extinct focuses on the following actions:
  • Reducing deforestation and loss of habitat caused by illegal logging, including support for FSC certified wood and wood products.
  • Raising awareness of habitat loss and the effects of hunting
  • Promoting and managing protected areas
  • Reducing illegal hunting through programmes such as TRAFFIC

WWF works closely with PNG's Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) on its national planning framework for biodiversity strategy and action planning, ensuring the necessary resources are in place to implement sustainable use and managed protection programmes. Specific projects include:
Traffic logo / ©: Traffic
Traffic logo
© Traffic
 / ©: FSC
Forest Stewardship Council
© FSC

How you can help

  • Support WWF's efforts to preserve tree kangaroo habitat - only buy wood or wood products that come from properly managed and sustainable forests which have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC).
  • Spread the word! Click on the button to share this information with others via email or your favourite social networking service.

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Did you know?

    • Like all macropods, instead of sweating, tree kangaroos lick their forearms and allow the evaporation to help cool their bodies when hot.
    • Only 2 species are found in Australia: Bennett’s and Lumholtz’s tree kangaroo.
    • They are Australia's largest aboreal (tree-living) mammals

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