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Tree Kangaroo Awareness Day at the Zoo

May 25, 2013

Tree kangaroos

On Saturday, May 25, the Milwaukee County Zoo will offer special activities highlighting the importance of the Matschie’s tree kangaroo, a critically endangered animal from Papua New Guinea. This day marks the second annual celebration for the National Tree Kangaroo Awareness Day.

In celebration of the day, zookeepers will present a talk on Matschie’s tree kangaroos at 2:00 p.m. in front of the exhibit. The talk will include information on the critically endangered status of these animals, along with details on their natural history in the wild.

Tree kangaroo, Kiama
The Zoo's Matschie's tree kangaroo, Kiama

Take a trip “Down Under” to the Australia Building where you’ll meet our three resident tree kangaroos: mother Kiama, father Kokoda, and youngster Tia. At just 18 months of age, Tia can be seen on indoor exhibit with Kiama, a 15-year-old kangaroo who has produced a total of five joeys. In 2011, she was the only captive North American tree kangaroo to produce offspring. Tia is at the age when a female joey starts to be independent and leave her mother. She now spends a lot of time near Kiama, but is becoming more self-confident.

Following the talk, zookeepers will show some of the enrichment items the tree kangaroos enjoy most. Enrichment helps to keep the animals healthy and active, allowing them to show different behaviors like they would in the wild. Some of these items include willow browse -- tree branches the animals eat as it offers them a varied food option. The keepers will also provide the animals with puzzle feeders. These feeders are specially designed to encourage the animals to work the “toy” to get to the food inside.

Visitors can also learn more about the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program which is spearheading wildlife and habitat conservation initiatives to help this endangered species survive. The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to be a financial supporter of this important conservation program.

For more information on Tree Kangaroo Awareness Day at the Zoo, please contact the Public Affairs and Services Department at 414.256.5411.