Habitat: Tree canopies in rainforests more than 300m above sea level
Distribution: Limited to the Wet Tropics rainforest in tropical north Queensland, between the Daintree Rainforest and the Cardwell Range
Lifespan: 15-20 years
Conservation status: Near-threatened (IUCN)
Main threats: Habitat loss, climate change
The rainforest canopy of the Atherton Tablelands might be the last place you expect to find a kangaroo, but it's exactly where you'll find one of Australia's cutest marsupials, the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo (Dendrolagus lumholtzi).
The Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo has round ears which give it almost a teddy bear-like appearance.
A living link to the ancestors of terrestrial macropods, the Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo is one of two arboreal kangaroo species in Australia.
Weighing about 7kg on average, they are nimble and well-adapted to life in the treetops. Long, muscley forearms and curved claws on their front feet help with climbing, while soft pads on their back feet mould around tree trunks to help with grip. They are great jumpers like their terrestrial counterparts, but walk awkwardly on the ground.
As a climate-sensitive species, the Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo is generally restricted to higher altitudes and prefers habitat from 600-1200m above sea level. They are most commonly seen in the fragmented forests of the Atherton Tablelands, where they feed on leaves, roots and seasonal fruits. You're unlikely to see them moving around during the day as they are nocturnal, but you may catch them sleeping hunched over on a branch high in the tree canopy. A mostly solitary species, females produce a single joey which will live in its mother's pouch for around nine months.
The Lumholtz's tree-kangaroo is rarely active during the day.
The Lumholtz’s tree-kangaroo is culturally significant to the Djirrbal and Ngadjon-jii peoples on the Atherton Tablelands. They are also threatened by the clearing of rainforest habitat and urban use, as travelling between patches of remnant rainforests increases their risk of car strikes and dog attacks. Some individuals in recent years have also been blinded by an unknown virus or disease.