Goodfellow’s Tree-Kangaroo: Who?

On February 15, 2015 by Tim Newman

Goodfellow's tree-kangaroo - close up face

I love it when I come across an image of an animal that I don’t even recognise, and that’s what happened here with the wonderfully cute Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo. It’s named after Walter Goodfellow (1866–1953) a zoologist, ornithologist and collector of animals. In fact Goodfellow has no less than six species named after him the lucky thing.

Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo, also known as the ornate tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus goodfellowi) is in the same family of critters as the kangaroo and koala, i.e. it is a pouch wearing marsupial. Rather than hang out in Australia or South America with the vast majority of its marsupial brethren, this tree-kangaroo has chosen the rainforests of New Guinea and Indonesia as its home.

Goodfellow's tree-kangaroo - chilling out

Of course, an animal as amazing looking as this is bound to be endangered. The tree-kangaroo is fighting for survival thanks to human encroachment, hunting and deforestation. What a surprise hey folks? Humans killing off species one at a time. Well done us.

Goodfellow's tree-kangaroo - walking

Animal Collection on LAZERHORSE.ORG

Unlike its cousins the Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo doesn’t have such disproportionately long and strong legs. This and other adaptations have enabled it to relax in the trees for the majority of its life.

It’s a clumsy mover on the ground and would have no hope in a high-speed chase. However, in the trees it has a grace that belies its slovenly appearance and can jump more than 9 metres downwards to reach adjacent tree trunks.

Goodfellow's tree-kangaroo - close up face 2

Goodfellow’s tree-kangaroo are mostly nocturnal and generally hang about on their own, occasionally meeting in groups if they fancy a chat or whatever. They are herbivorous and have extra-large ‘sacculated’ guts to ferment difficult plant matter into usable energy, similar to ruminants.

I love them. Perhaps not as much as I love the douc langers, but they’re right up there.

@media all and (max-width: 228px) { div#darkbackground, div.visiblebox { display: none; } }