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Watch: Baby Kangaroo Pokes its Head Out of Mom’s Pouch for the First Time

An English zoo has captured a magical moment on camera: the instant a young baby tree kangaroo poked its head out of its mom’s pouch for the very first time. In an adorable video shared by the Chester Zoo, you can watch the unnamed baby tentatively peek into the outside world and receive a lot of love and kisses from its mum, Kitawa.

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Tree kangaroos aren’t your standard ‘roos. These guys have faces that look a little more like bears or sloths. They have extra-long tails for balance, long, strong claws for climbing, and they can jump from a height of about 30 feet without sustaining injuries. 

The birthing process for a tree kangaroo is among the most complicated in the animal kingdom, according to Dave White, a team manager at the zoo. They’re about the size of a jellybean when they’re born, yet they instinctively know to immediately crawl up their mum’s belly and into her pouch — all with their eyes closed, White said in the zoo’s announcement about the birth. “Once safely in the pouch, the baby receives all the nutrition it needs while it grows and develops for a further six months — up until it starts to pop its head out.”

Kitawa, who is a Goodfellow’s tree kangaroo, is part of a special breeding program at the zoo designed to help ward off extinction for these endangered marsupials. Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos live in trees in the forests of Papua New Guinea. Due to deforestation and illegal hunting, the species’ population has declined significantly. The Chester Zoo is one of only two zoos in the United Kingdom where Goodfellow’s tree kangaroos are kept, and this is the first time in its history that a joey has been born there.

Once a joey is born, it hangs out in its mother’s pouch where it’s safe and warm. Once this joey is strong enough to start coming out and hopping around on its own, zoo staff will be able to identify whether it’s a boy or a girl and then they’ll give it a name. 

The joey isn’t the only new baby the English zoo is celebrating: from a baby lemur to adorable twin tigers, it’s turning out to be quite a busy (and adorable) spring season. 

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