Conservation, Research and Education Opportunities International

Using locally-managed scientific research to understand the activity patterns, home range size, and habitat use of the endangered Matschie’s tree kangaroo (Dendrolagus matschiei) on the Huon Peninsula, Papua New Guinea

L. Dabek

The Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Project (TKCP) has been collaborating with communities on Papua New Guinea’s Huon Peninsula since 1996. TKCP reached an important milestone in 2009 when the national government officially designated landowner-pledged plots as the Yopno-Uruwa-Som Conservation Area (YUS CA), the highest-available level of protection in PNG. With official approval achieved, TKCP and local communities are now working to develop plans for the CA’s long-term management. The Matschie’s tree kangaroo is TKCP’s flagship species because of its status as an endangered species and its important cultural significance for the local indigenous people. Villagers use the tree kangaroo in key ceremonies and, as the peninsula’s largest mammal, tree kangaroos represents an essential protein source. The International Union for Conservation of Nature lists this tree kangaroo as endangered with a very high risk of extinction. A better understanding of its ecology and habitat use is necessary to properly manage and conserve it. This project will study the ecology of the Matschie’s tree kangaroo, including their activity budgets, feeding behavior, diet, and home ranges. TKCP can use the resulting data to sustainably manage the YUS CA. This project will build on TKCP’s long-term research, the only such research performed anywhere in PNG. ($5,000)