June 29, 2020 – It is with heavy hearts that the Santa Fe College Teaching Zoo shares the news of the passing of one of our longest-standing residents, PJ the Matschie’s tree kangaroo.
Ensuring the welfare and quality of life of the animals in our care are our top priorities. As with all the animals in the zoo, PJ was monitored daily by zookeepers. As PJ progressed in age, he began to develop geriatric issues, notably arthritis in his spine. For many years, staff performed routine welfare assessments and we were able to keep PJ comfortable with anti-inflammatory and pain medications. However, over the last several weeks the arthritis significantly decreased his mobility. Zoo staff and our veterinarians agreed that his quality of life was greatly impacted, leading to the very difficult decision to humanely euthanize him.
At the age of 20 years, PJ was the oldest male tree kangaroo currently under human care. He spent the past 19 years at the SF Teaching Zoo, touching the lives of countless student zookeepers, staff members and veterinarians that have had the pleasure to learn from him. During his time with us, he experienced 28 Zoo Animal Technology graduations and taught more than 850 students.
Yosanni Torres graduated from the Zoo Animal Technology program in 2014 and is currently a zookeeper working with Matschie’s tree kangaroos at Zoo Miami. When asked about PJ, she said, “He will be sorely missed but I know that I am the keeper I am today because of having been able to learn from amazing animals like him. He lives on in the hearts of all those who were lucky enough to be near him. I take comfort in knowing that he lived the best life at Santa Fe with the best care possible.”
The SF Teaching Zoo collaborates with the Tree Kangaroo Species Survival Plan, and is now home to two young Matschie’s tree kangaroos, Ecki and Adelaide. We are also a strong contributor of the Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program, which supports wild tree kangaroos in their native habitat. The zoo is currently closed due to COVID-19, however, you can follow us on social media. If you would like to contribute to the care of the animals at the zoo we are accepting donations in PJ’s name at sfcollege.edu/zoo/support/donation/index.