Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Wildlife — By on January 20, 2011 at 7:11 am
Matschies%20Tree%20Kangaroo Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Saving the Tree Kangaroos with a conservation program

The adorable Tree Kangaroo (the Matschie species is shown to the left) is threatened worldwide due to loss of habitat.  Found primarily in the rain forests of Papua New Guinea, logging, mining and development are stripping the forests of their trees and with them, the homes of the Tree Kangaroo.

Efforts to save the Tree Kangaroos have been underway since 1996 when the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program was established at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle, Washington.  The Progam has offices in Lae, Papua New Guinea and Cairns, Australia under the direction of Dr. Lisa Dabek, a National Geographic Society/Waitt Grants Program grantee.

The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program works with local villagers and landowners to map critical habitat and document the history and status of the macropod animals.  In addition to the wildlife conservation efforts, the program also expands health care to the remote regions and works to improve schools, while educating locals regarding conservation programs and management of natural resources.

Tree kangaroos are believed to have evolved from animals similar to kangaroos and wallabies.  Although they can get around on the ground, they move slowly and clumsily.  The trees are their home, however, where the tree kangaroos can hop, climb and leap with surprising agility.

The critically endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo is a flagship species for Papua New Guinea.  The Huon Peninsula has been targeted as a priority region for conservation because of its large, contiguous rain forests.

tree kangaroo picture 1 Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Tree Kangaroo and baby (image from National Geographic)

Saving the tree kangaroos will also help citizens of Papua New Guinea.  More than 95% of the land in the country is owned by traditional clans, rather than private landowners.  Perhaps not surprisingly, the vast majority of inhabitants rely on the surrounding environment for their livelihood, shelter and food.

With these circumstances, people of Papua New Guinea will benefit – just as will the tree kangaroos – with better stewardship of their natural resources.

According to the National Geographic website:

The Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program works … in a region of the Huon Peninsula known as the YUS area, named for its three main rivers: Yopno, Uruwa and Som. As an international community-based program, the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program works with Papua New Guinea village landowners and families, university students and faculty, government officials and many Non-Government Organizations. Investment in communities has fostered trust in Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program and its goals, and has been vital to the development of conservation awareness in local communities.

In particular, Conservation International works in partnership with the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program.

tree kangaroo 03 Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program

Help save the Tree Kangaroos

According to National Geographic, the goals of the 2009 Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program include:

  • Create the first officially recognized Conservation Area (CA) on the Huon Peninsula of Papua New Guinea.
  • Establish a Community-Based Organization, the YUS Conservation Organization, which provides long-term management for the CA and improves the livelihood opportunities of the local communities.
  • Support long-term management and financial sustainability of the YUS Conservation Organization.
  • Facilitate ecological and social monitoring of the CA and promote scientific research.
  • Build local capacity to address conservation, education, healthcare, and other community needs.
  • Disseminate lessons learned through a global network to support community-based conservation and act as a model for other conservation programs.

What can you do to help?  Donate to the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program online here, or send a check payable to the “Woodland Park Zoo” and note Tree Kangaroo Conservation Trust on it.

Send check to:

Hilary Aten, TKCP Coordinator
Woodland Park Zoo
601 N. 59th Street
Seattle, Washington 98103, U.S.A

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