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Rare Pygmy Kangaroos Returned to Papuan Rain Forest 
    2007-06-06 09:24:50     CRIENGLISH.com
Indonesia is returning 17 rare, pygmy kangaroos to the Papuan rainforest after acquiring them in recent years from illegal traders and private zoos.

It is unknown how many of the mammals, which can grow up a metre long and weigh 12 kilograms, will survive in the wild.

The 17 animals released are descended from six males and females cared-for by the Cikananga Animal Rescue Centre in West Java, where they have been preparing for survival in their natural habitat.

Resit Sozer is the spokesman for the Rescue Centre.

"Until today they are not ready yet to live back in the wild so the individuals...We will keep (them) in the forest but in a fenced-off area of one hectare we fenced-off in the natural forest and we will adapt them back, habituate them back to their natural habitat."

Sozer added that the only real enemy of the animals is man.

"The main disturbance for this animal, the natural enemies are only humans. There are no other natural enemies. So as long as they can take care of themselves, find their natural food and remain undisturbed by humans, they will do OK."

On Tuesday, they will gain freedom, but will face new predators - such as giant python snakes and local poachers - who eat their meat or sell their hides.

The World Conservation Union ranks the species in the "vulnerable" category, meaning they face a high risk of extinction in the medium-term.

Little is known about the kangaroos, known as dusky pademelons, or Thylogale Brunii.

They belong to a family of seven kangaroo-like mammals.

The Indonesian kangaroos are generally found in forests in the southeastern coast of the island of Papua, split between Indonesia's West Papua and Papua New Guinea.


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