Simbu is one of the most loved animals at the National Zoo and Aquarium but, along with the rest of his species, he remains endangered, under-researched and vulnerable.
The avocado-loving tree kangaroo became the face of World Wildlife Day on Wednesday, the purpose of which is to raise money and awareness for the preservation of animals and plants.
"World Wildlife Day was created by the United Nations as a day to recognise how important wildlife is. Here at National Zoo, what we really want to do is promote our conversation work that we do," senior wildlife keeper Brendan Sheean said.
The zoo raises money for conservation organisations who work on the ground to save endangered animals, like Simbu.
"We've donated close to $50,000 to tree kangaroo conservation because they are one of the world's most endangered animals and one of the least studied," Mr Sheean said.
"We've started creating a couple of events and getting our conservation work back off the ground after COVID, which we are really excited about," he said.
The species is facing extinction today because of overhunting, lack of preservation and climate change.
"Many of the Lumholtz tree kangaroos are also turning up blind. We don't know exactly why yet, but it could be climate change related, and that's what they're looking into at the moment," he said.
"It's really important we help raise awareness and also raise funds to help protect these guys."
The National Zoo and Aquarium has partnered with the Tree Roo Rescue and Conservation Centre to host an after-hours event, Sensations of the World, to celebrate World Wildlife Day on March 19.
The event will feature live acts, food trucks and the opportunity to interact with wildlife.
"All money from the event goes towards tree kangaroos in Papua New Guinea," Mr Sheean said.
The zoo will also create a number of campaigns to educate Canberrans on different ways they can help protect wildlife from their own backyards.
"There are lots of things people can do, from keeping cats indoors [to] planting native trees, putting out native boxes and donating to the zoo," Mr Sheean said.
Tickets for the fundraising event are available via the zoo's website
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