She’s ‘Som’ Kind of Wonderful: A New ‘Roo Arrives at CMZoo

September 27, 2023

RARE, ENDANGERED AND ELUSIVE TREE KANGAROO SPECIES RETURNS TO CHEYENNE MOUNTIAN ZOO – Late Tuesday night, a fuzzy little face emerged from her comfy travel crate. It’s Som (which rhymes with “roam”), a 3-year-old female Matschie’s tree kangaroo, and brand-new member of the CMZoo family!

Only about 2,500 Matschie’s tree kangaroos remain in the wild in their only known habitat: The Huon Peninsula of northeastern Papua New Guinea. Threatened by logging and mining exploration, the marsupial arboreal species is considered endangered by the International Union for the Conservancy of Nature (IUCN).

Som comes to CMZoo from another organization accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and CMZoo guests can see her right away in Australia Walkabout! While she settles in, keepers are getting to know her.

“We’re told she’s very curious and that she loves kale and steamed sweet potato, which we’ll happily provide,” said Amber Callen-Ward, lead animal keeper in Australia Walkabout at CMZoo. “We’re extra excited to welcome her because it’s the first time we’ve cared for a female tree ‘roo at CMZoo. So far, she seems really sweet.”

Last week, CMZoo’s former male tree kangaroo, Tristan, embarked on his exciting adventure to Denver Zoo, where he’ll have the opportunity to contribute to the future of his endangered species. Tristan has been recommended to breed with Denver Zoo’s Matschie’s tree kangaroo, Pearl, by the Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan (SSP). Read more about Tristan and Pearl here:

The Matschie’s Tree Kangaroo SSP is led by members throughout the Association of Zoos and Aquariums network. SSPs track genetics of animals in human care and make recommendations for future breeding based on those genetics. The goal is to create the most genetically diverse population of animals in human care possible.

CMZoo supports the SSP by providing homes and care for tree kangaroos that don’t have current breeding recommendations, like Som. While Som receives quality care, she’s also contributing to the conservation of her species by inspiring and educating guests.

About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s mountain Zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. In 2023, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was voted #4 Best Zoo in North America and CMZoo’s Rocky Mountain Wild was named #2 Best Zoo Exhibit in North America by USA TODAY 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s goal to help guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Since 2008, CMZoo’s Quarters for Conservation program has raised more than $4.5 million dedicated to frontline conservation efforts around the world. Of the 238 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just a few operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues, special event attendance and donations for funding.