Tenkile tree kangaroos are found only Papua New Guinea, and only in Sandaun Province along the Torricelli Mountains in the rainforests on the southern side of Mount Sumoro. Today, the total area occupied by these tree kangaroos is only about 50 square kilometers. (Massicot, 2002; "Melbourne Zoo", 1998; "Tenkile Info", 2003)
The rainforest canopy on the southern side of Mount Somoro is now the only home to tenkile tree kangaroos. This habitat is at elevations of 900 to 1500 meters. (Massicot, 2002)
The body mass of Dendrolagus scottae averages 10 kg. Tree kangaroos have bodies that are built for climbing up and down trees and for moving along tree branches. The tail is similar to that of other macropods, but the tenkiles are more adapted for maneuvering through the upper levels of the rainforest. Good balance and agility are needed to be able to jump or move from tree to tree without falling to the forest floor. These qualities are enhanced by the tenkiles' floppy tails. Large foreclaws enable these animals to grasp tree branches and climb through the canopy with ease. Their fur is a dark brown color and, like many other marsupials, they have a pouch used in the development of offspring. (Massicot, 2002; "Tenkile Info", 2003)
Research on Scott's tree kangaroos suggests that these animals breed throughout most of the year. Females will give birth to young at 12 month intervals. Like most macropods, Scott's tree kangaroos give birth to one offspring at a time. (Flannery, 1995; Massicot, 2002; Nowak, 1991)
Like other kangaroos, female Scott's tree kangaroos carry their young in a pouch until the joey is large enough and old enough to emerge. This time period is usually ten to twelve months. The young are nursed from birth until the young are more than a year old. (Nowak, 1991)
Tenkiles or Scott's tree kangaroos are diurnal and mainly terrestrial, though they can climb to escape predators and danger. Native people report that they were previously encountered mainly in groups of 4 animals, including a male, female, and their young, but are more commonly found as solitary females and young in recent years, this may be the result of severe population declines in recent years. In the wild, females may have a few acres as their territory, while males maintain a much larger territory. (Massicot, 2002)
Other tree kangaroo species are mainly arboreal. They are capable of large leaps from the ground into the trees and from tree to tree. On the ground they move with small hops. On the ground the tail is held arched over their back and the head leans far forward. Related females may form social groups that cooperate in defense against unfamiliar males. (Nowak, 1991)
Little is known about how tenkiles communicate, however it is likely that they use the full suite of available senses to communicate and perceive their environment, including vision, chemical cues, touch, and hearing. (Massicot, 2002)
Tenkiles, or Scott's tree kangaroos, are mainly herbivorous. Their primary diet consists of tree leaves, ferns, and soft vines. They may forage in the trees or on the ground. (Massicot, 2002)
The main predator of Scott's tree kangaroos is humans. Tribal hunters in the areas of the Torricelli Mountains are hunting these animals resulting in rapidly decreasing populations. They are used for meat and skins. The young are also being killed for their skins, or they are being captured and kept as pets. Little is known about any anti-predator adaptations in this species. ("Tenkile Info", 2003)
Humans use tenkile tree kangaroos as a source of food and fur and sometimes keep them as pets. (Massicot, 2002)
There are no known adverse affects of tenkile tree kangaroos on humans.
Scott's tree kangaroos, which were first discovered in 1989, are thought to be the rarest tree kangaroo species. Wild populations are rapidly declining, and is now thought to be less than 200 individuals. This is about a 75% reduction since the species was first discovered. The main reason for these falling numbers is hunting by the increasing human population and habitat loss. To deal with this unfortunate population decline, the Tenkile Conservation Alliance was formed in 1999. This conservation group is working to maintain the failing habitat of this rare species. If action is not taken soon, the tenkile population is likely to be extinct within just a few years. (Massicot, 2002; "Melbourne Zoo", 1998; "Tenkile Info", 2003)
Dendrolagus scottae individuals have a strong odor, which can last for up to a week on items that an animal comes in contact with (e.g. a handler's hands). Another interesting tidbit about these animals is how they received the common name 'Scott's Tree Kangaroo'. The story is that there was a trust fund named after a man called Winifred Scott. After his death in 1985, the Permanent Trustee Company, a co-trustee of the Scott Trust, donated the trust income to an Australian Museum research program. Participants in this program discovered the tenkile. In honor of Winifred, this species of tree kangaroo was given the name Scott's tree kangaroo. (Massicot, 2002; "Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning", 2003)
Lindsay Cosens (author), Michigan State University, Barbara Lundrigan (editor), Michigan State University.
Living in Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, New Guinea and associated islands.
uses sound to communicate
young are born in a relatively underdeveloped state; they are unable to feed or care for themselves or locomote independently for a period of time after birth/hatching. In birds, naked and helpless after hatching.
Referring to an animal that lives in trees; tree-climbing.
having body symmetry such that the animal can be divided in one plane into two mirror-image halves. Animals with bilateral symmetry have dorsal and ventral sides, as well as anterior and posterior ends. Synapomorphy of the Bilateria.
uses smells or other chemicals to communicate
animals that use metabolically generated heat to regulate body temperature independently of ambient temperature. Endothermy is a synapomorphy of the Mammalia, although it may have arisen in a (now extinct) synapsid ancestor; the fossil record does not distinguish these possibilities. Convergent in birds.
parental care is carried out by females
an animal that mainly eats leaves.
A substance that provides both nutrients and energy to a living thing.
An animal that eats mainly plants or parts of plants.
animals that live only on an island or set of islands.
offspring are produced in more than one group (litters, clutches, etc.) and across multiple seasons (or other periods hospitable to reproduction). Iteroparous animals must, by definition, survive over multiple seasons (or periodic condition changes).
having the capacity to move from one place to another.
the business of buying and selling animals for people to keep in their homes as pets.
rainforests, both temperate and tropical, are dominated by trees often forming a closed canopy with little light reaching the ground. Epiphytes and climbing plants are also abundant. Precipitation is typically not limiting, but may be somewhat seasonal.
remains in the same area
reproduction that includes combining the genetic contribution of two individuals, a male and a female
associates with others of its species; forms social groups.
uses touch to communicate
Living on the ground.
defends an area within the home range, occupied by a single animals or group of animals of the same species and held through overt defense, display, or advertisement
the region of the earth that surrounds the equator, from 23.5 degrees north to 23.5 degrees south.
uses sight to communicate
reproduction in which fertilization and development take place within the female body and the developing embryo derives nourishment from the female.
breeding takes place throughout the year
Zoological Parks and Gardens Board. 1998. "Melbourne Zoo" (On-line ). Scott's Tree Kangaroo. Accessed 04/11/03 at http://www.zoo.org.au/animals/treekangaroo.htm.
Tenkile Conservation Alliance, Inc. 2003. "Tenkile Info" (On-line ). Accessed 04/11/03 at http://www.unitech.ac.pg/TCA/tenkileinfo.html.
Permanent Trustee Company, Ltd. 2003. "Wills, Trusts, and Estate Planning" (On-line ). Media Releases. Accessed 04/11/03 at . http://www.permanent-trustee.com.au/wills/charitable_fs.htm.
Flannery, T. 1995. Mammals of New Guinea. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.
Massicot, P. 2002. "Animal Info" (On-line ). Tenkile. Accessed 04/11/03 at http://www.animalinfo.org/species/dendscot.htm.
Nowak, R. 1991. Walker's Mammals of the World. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.