No Cookies | Herald Sun WHEN little Mupee the tree kangaroo first poked her head out from her mother’s pouch, her long-awaited arrival was greeted with a collective cheer. A rare Lumholtz tree kangaroo, Mupee is the first of her kind to be born as part of Dreamworld’s Australasian captive management program. University of Queensland reproductive biologist Tamara Keeley said Mupee emerged from the pouch in May, six months after being born, after an even longer breeding process. Little is known about the mating habits of tree kangaroos, making her birth even more significant. They are generally solitary with long breeding cycles and are often not keen on getting to know a potential mate. However, a clue to fertility can be found in their poo. “We were able look at hormones through their faeces to determine cycles and when the best time was to put the males and females together,” Dr Keeley said. “Sometimes, it can go pear-shaped, but this time it all went smoothly.” Life as a tree kangaroo joey isn’t easy. Born as a tiny furless speck no bigger than a 10-cent piece, Mupee had to make a perilous one-hour journey from womb to pouch through her mother’s fur. She then latched on to her mother’s teat, where she spent the next six months growing in size and strength. They’re born with just arms and a mouth but have to physically crawl to the pouch,” Dr Keeley said. “They’re very susceptible to heat and the cold ... so they do their best to move as quickly as possible. “We think Mupee’s a female but we haven’t been able to confirm as yet — all are doing well though.” The species, found in tropical far north Queensland, is one of just two known tree kangaroo species in Australia. Only 10,000 are estimated to still exist in the wild.