The UK’s only dusky pademelons are set to make their public debut at Chester Zoo.
Rare miniature wallabies, Kai and Aru, will soon hop out into the limelight – the first time the unusual Indonesian animals have ever been seen at Chester.
The rare mammals, a species of marsupial, have arrived from Plzen Zoo in the Czech Republic.
Mammal keepers hope to eventually introduce the duo to a female as part of a European-wide breeding programme for threatened animals.
Dusky pademelons are also known as dusky wallabies and, in the wild, are found in forests on the island of New Guinea.
Watch: Meet the UK’s ONLY ‘miniature kangaroos’ at Chester Zoo
They are listed as vulnerable to extinction by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with their population estimated to have declined by 30% in the last 15-20 years.
The demise of the species is largely due to hunting for its meat.
Experts from Chester now want to help raise awareness of the plight of the species in the wild.
Curator of mammals at Chester Zoo Tim Rowlands said: “Little is known about these little Indonesian kangaroos. Indeed, many people may not have even heard of a dusky pademelon before.
“However, Chester Zoo is committed to the conservation of threatened species and is always looking to break new ground by working with unusual, unheralded, often unknown animals and so we’re particularly pleased with the arrivals of Kai and Aru. We hope they put the fascinating species on the map and bring some needed attention to them.”
Chester’s dusky pademelons are two of only 33 cared for by zoos in Europe.