Kangaroos do not only live in Australia. Although of slightly different kind, these marsupials called dusky pademelons look like their South Pacific cousins. As West Papuan animals, these mammals have something unique you ought to know.
If golden coat tree kangaroos live mostly hanging on the trees, then these marsupials can be found on the land more often.
Facts About Dusky Pademelons
For starters, you will never find these mammals in Australia. Also known as Thylogale brunii, dusky pademelons are also known as dusky wallabies. These animals are natives in Papua New Guinea and also West Papua. They are also marsupials, since they have pouches to carry their joeys (babies for kangaroos).
Other marsupials like them besides kangaroos are possums, wombats, and koalas. Their name, pademelon, is actually from an Aboriginal term. It means “small kangaroo from the forest”.
Dusky pademelons have large ears too, which help them to listen for potential predators. They are well-balanced, with the help of strong hind legs and a short, thick tail. Unlike the regular kangaroos, they are very small. They only grow up to 1.2 metres – and that also includes their tails.
Although they are solitary animals, there are times when they band together to mate and reproduce. The breeding process goes for an entire year. A joey is born after a month-ling gestation period. At first, the newborns are still blind and helpless. However, that does not stop them from crawling up into their mother’s pouch.
Inside their mother’s pouch, they consume milk from the teats. They will spend the first six months inside the pouch as part of their growing process.
Just like regular kangaroos, dusky pademelons also hop. Of course, since they are much smaller than the regular kangaroos, their jump does not cover much distance.
In West Papua, there are three (3) different kangaroos that look slightly different from the ones in Australia:
- Thylogale stigmata or tree kangaroos with golden coat.
- Thylogale brunii or dusky pademelons.
- Thylogale brownie.
Dusky pademelons are the smallest of kangaroos in West Papua. They weigh only between three to six kilograms, with the width of 50 cm and the length of 90 cm. The largest of this species only weighs about ten kilograms.
What They Eat and Where They Live
As herbivores, dusky pademelons consume various plants, from herbs, grass, some flowers, to green shoots. There have been studies that discovered these mammals grazing in clearings at the edge of the forest at night. This shows that they are also nocturnal creatures. They live in the forests of Papua New Guinea and also West Papua.
A Critically Endangered Species In West Papua
As cute as they are, dusky pademelons are also critically endangered. Their population is estimated to have decresed by 30% for the past 15 to 20 years. Unfortunately, looking cute does not help the fact that many people are still after for their meat.
Other causes that have threatened their lives include habitat fragmentation and captivity for other means besides hunting. When deforestation occurs, their natural habitation gets reduced from time to time. Although these marsupials have the ability to adapt to different environments, their attractiveness is a temptation to humans with bad intentions. If they are not caught for their meat consumption, these mammals are captured as exotic pets and special entertainment.
Just like their cousins in Australia and golden coat tree kangaroos, dusky pademelons are registered on the Red List of Threatened Species made by IUCN (The International Union for Conservation of Nature. This means that they must be one of the top priorities in terms of preserving wild, endangered animals.
Now we know that there are different types of kangaroos in West Papua. They also need to be protected.