Every parent thinks their newborn is special, but Oumak and Kubu can be especially proud.
They’re first-time parents to Mani, a rare species of tree kangaroo whose birth in captivity at Canberra’s National Zoo & Aquarium has been marked with surprise and celebration among keepers.
“(Mum Oumak) is showing it off, she’s proud as, just showing that little one off to the public,” National Zoo senior keeper Shelley Russell told AAP on Thursday.
Mani’s birth is also special for the zoo because it’s not only the first joey born there, but its type – the endangered Goodfellow’s Tree Kangaroo – is rarely bred in captivity.
“The first time round when we first introduced them, we were wondering if there was anything in (Oumak’s) pouch,” Ms Russell said.
“We breathed a sigh of relief when we realised we paired them okay.”
The zookeepers named the baby joey Mani, which means “please” in one of the many languages of the animal’s native Papua New Guinea.
Ms Russell hopes it sends a message to consumers to buy certified wood products to prevent illegal logging, which is destroying their native habitat.
And if all goes well, Mani could have a sibling very soon. Mum and dad seem to have hit it off rather well.
“During the evening when we’re not here, they’re both down talking to each other,” Ms Russell said.
“She always takes some time to smell his scent. I think she’s actually just smelling to keep in contact with him.”