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The West Papua Kangaroo: golden-mantled tree-kangaroo

West Papua Kangaroo are considered threatened and endemic only found in Papua Island. The following article is written by Sarah Megumi in

Many thought that only Australia had kangaroos. In fact, the animal that has a sac in its stomach (Marsupialia), also lives in Indonesia, more precisely in Papua. Papua kangaroos have a smaller size compared to Australian kangaroos. There are two genus kangaroos, namely dendrolagus (tree kangaroos) and thylogale (ground kangaroos). Both are included in rare categories so that they include animals that are protected from extinction.

Tree Kangaroo

Dendrolagus pulcherrimus (golden mantled tree kangaroos). Foto: Wikimedia

As the name implies, most of the life span of tree kangaroos are spent on trees. However, these animals also often go to the ground, for example when looking for drinking water. Dendrolagus pulcherrimus (golden mantled tree kangaroos) is a type of tree kangaroos that are only found in the mountain forests of Papua.

As for the types of tree kangaroos that live in Papua include Goodfellow Tree Kangaroos or ornamental tree kangaroos or Goodfellow’s Tree-kangaroo; Dendrolagus mbaiso (referred to as Mbaiso or Dingiso Tree Kangaroo); Dendrolagus dorianus or known as Kangaroo Ndomea Tree or Doria’s Tree-kangaroo; Dendrolagus ursinus (called Vogelkop Tree-kangaroo or Nemena Tree Kangaroo); Dendrolagus stellarum is also known as Seri’s Tree-kangaroo.

These animal legs are the same length as their arms and are very strong to help in climbing the tree where they live. The body length of this animal is around 41-77cm, tail length is 40-87 cm, and its body weight can reach 14.5 kg. These animals like to eat leaves and fruit.

These species have short, light brown hair. The neck, cheeks and legs are yellowish. The lower side of the abdomen is paler in color with two golden lines on its back. Long tail and not prehensile with bright circles. Gold mantled tree kangaroos have a lighter or pinker face, golden shoulders, white ears and are smaller than the ornamental tree kangaroo species.

Tree Kangaroo is critically endangered

Unfortunately, the golden mantled tree kangaroo is one of the tree species that is most threatened with extinction among all tree kangaroos. This species has become extinct in most of its natural habitat. Based on the IUCN Red List data on the status of the golden mantled tree kangaroo population in nature is a critically endangered animal, a status extinct in the wild before extinct.

The decreasing population of West Papua kangaroo in their habitat, due to the rise of land clearing and hunting of wild species. Allegedly this Golden Mantled has decreased in population by more than 80% over the past 30 years. In addition, the lack of knowledge of the local community about the status of these cute animals causes them to still hunt the Golden Mantled for meat consumption. The Golden Mantled is often used as a substitute for pork at traditional events.

However, the local government is working together with the indigenous community to protect these marsupial animals. By involving the role of local communities as forest police partners, proving that indigenous people can preserve the kangaroo, the customary community still maintains its territory well.

In 2019, Papua hosted an international conference “International Conference on Biodiversity, Ecotourism and Creative Economy (ICBE) 2018 “from 7 to 10 October in Manokwari, West Papua. This activity was a breakthrough from the Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by the United Nations (UN), where biodiversity received serious attention. The expected outcome of this conference is that all parties are jointly committed to managing and preserving Papua’s biodiversity for the welfare of nature and mankind.

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This Blog has gone through many obstacles and attacks from violent Free West Papua separatist supporters and ultra nationalist Indonesian since 2007. However, it has remained throughout a time devouring thoughts of how to bring peace to Papua and West Papua provinces of Indonesia.

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