Weimang Tree Kangaroo
Golden mantled (Weimang)
Illustration - Peter Schouten
Characteristics: distinctive golden coloured shoulders, white ears and face with white rings on the tail. Parts of the back are distinctively rich almost burgundy in colour. Very much like a goodfellows tree kangaroo but with a white face.
Males: 6.2 kg (from single captive male at TCA Base Lumi)
Females: 7.0 kg (from only two females)
Distribution: Found in only two areas of New Guinea. The lower montane rainforest in the eastern end of the Torricelli Mountain range, Papua New Guinea and the Foja Mountains in West Papua.
Elevation: 680 – 1,700 meters above sea level.
Diet: Very little is known about its diet.
Reproduction: Very little known. Bred in captivity at the TCA base Lumi, Sandaun Province.
Conservation Status: critically endangered (IUCN)
Local Names: Weimangke (Olo, Sandaun Province), Oumak (Yil, Sandaun Province), Weimang (Alu, Sandaun Province), Wimang (Arop, Sandaun Province)
Social Structure: Possibly lives in social groups.
The Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo (Weimang) (D. pulcherrimus) is found in mid-montane rainforest at elevations of 680-1120m in the Torricelli Mountain Range of Sandaun Province, PNG. It is one of three species of Tree Kangaroo found in this range. The Torricelli Mountains is the only area known to contain three species of Tree Kangaroo: Tenkile (D. scottae), Finsch's Tree Kangaroo (D. inustus finschi) and the Golden-mantled Tree Kangaroo (D. pulcherrimus).
The Golden-mantled is now only found in the eastern end of the Torricelli. Previously it was found across the entire range but as is the case with Tenkile it is now residing in a fraction of its former range. Its present distribution is thought to be 250 square kilometres comprising of 30 villages owning the habitat. The Golden-mantled is the smallest member of the Goodfellow's Tree Kangaroo complex. Only two female specimens have ever been weighed - 7 and 7.1kg.
TCA has been looking after Weimang tree kangaroos since March 2006. TCA established a hunting moratorium for Weimang with 30 villages in the Nuku District of Sandaun Province. TCA has implemented the same programs as it has and is doing with the Tenkile villages. The distribution of Weimang in PNG is probably about 250 sq kms. TCA believes it is less threatened than Tenkile due to a much larger distribution than previously thought and a much lower human population density. There is also a population of the Golden-mantled in the Foja Mountains West Papua.
Distance sampling research has begun and will better determine the population status of the Weimang tree kangaroo.
Mammals of new Guinea – Tim Flannery (1995) and
Tree Kangaroos - a curious natural history – Tim Flannery, Roger Martin and Alexandra Szalay (1996).
Illustrations Peter Schouten.
Distribution of the Golden mantled (Weimang) Tree Kangaroo