If forests are for all of us, we must be all for forests

The Ghost of the Forest


Meet the Tree Kangaroo

A keystone of conservation and the star of our new Forest Trailhead exhibit

With the Forests for All campaign, we are reimagining Woodland Park Zoo—and catalyzing a conservation revolution. While small in stature, the Matschie’s tree kangaroo is a towering figure in our conservation work—a symbol of where we are, where we’re going, and what it looks like when we act together for animals, communities, and the forests that sustain us all.


What is a Tree Kangaroo?

Called the “ghost of the forest” by locals for its elusive nature, the Matschie’s tree kangaroo is endemic to the remote cloud forests of Papua New Guinea. With its long claws, powerful limbs, and sturdy tail, this furry marsupial is an expert climber, spending most of its time nibbling moss, ferns, and orchids high up in the forest canopy.




What is Woodland Park Zoo doing for tree kangaroos?

When Woodland Park Zoo’s Lisa Dabek arrived in Papua New Guinea a quarter century ago, the Matschie’s tree kangaroo had never been studied in the wild. What happened next ignited an entire region’s passion for conservation.

Twenty-five years later, our Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program is a global model for community-led conservation. With our partners in Papua New Guinea helping lead the way, we’ve created a program that helps tree kangaroos and local communities alike. Working together, we’ve established the country’s first conservation area, protected over 400,000 acres, and even sold more than 400,000 pounds of “conservation coffee.”




Why are tree kangaroos important?

Charming, charismatic, and rare in its own right, the Matschie’s tree kangaroo is also considered an umbrella species, which means that protecting it indirectly safeguards many other species that share their habitat. Yet due to habitat destruction and unsustainable hunting practices, only 2,500 mature individuals are believed to survive in the wild.


What’s next for tree kangaroos at Woodland Park Zoo?

Our new Forest Trailhead exhibit will put the Matschie’s tree kangaroo front and center of your experience and our hope for the future.

With a dynamic journey that brings you into the forest and up off the ground, you will come face to face to tree kangaroos all around you. You’ll also be able to dig deeper into the Tree Kangaroo Conservation program while joining with neighbors to shape what community-led conservation looks like here, and even buy conservation coffee from Papua New Guinea.

As we bring this delightful animal and all that it represents closer to our community, we will also elevate our field conservation work by establishing a new International Center for Tree Kangaroo Sustainability.

Learn more about Forests for All and make a gift to spark our movement.



Up in the Treetops, Get a New View of Your Zoo

Opening in 2026

What do animals such as Papua New Guinea’s Matschie’s tree kangaroos and Nepal’s red pandas have in common? They are the faces of forests where conservation has become a community movement. We need forests and now, with the health of the world’s forests at risk, forests need us. Only when forests thrive can nature reach its full potential as a climate solution.

Picture the stories of these animals and more in the new Forest Trailhead exhibit experience coming to Woodland Park Zoo in 2026. Following a competitive process, the zoo has selected the Seattle-based LMN Architects as principal architects with CLR Design (Philadelphia and Capistrano Beach, Calif.) as habitat designers for the project, which will be on the site of the former Day and Night Exhibits.

The Day and Night Exhibits closed permanently after a fire in December 2016 caused extensive structural damage to the aging building; more than 180 animals were safely evacuated by animal keepers and the Seattle Fire Department. Since the fire, most of the displaced animals—reptiles and amphibians—have been placed at other accredited zoos. A Matschie’s tree kangaroo, which was also housed in the building, remains at the zoo with other members of the species in non-public areas.

Now after the completion of a multi-year insurance review and negotiation, the zoo—along with local and global communities—is envisioning the next opportunity to bring together animals, people, and conservation at the heart of the zoo’s 92-acre urban forest.




A New Experience

The new Forest Trailhead experience will build on Woodland Park Zoo’s global conservation work, motivate guests to act to conserve forest habitats, and feature vulnerable and endangered animals representing forests of the world, including tree kangaroos. Much-adored red pandas, colorful birds and fascinating reptiles and invertebrates will also make their home in the new forest.

According to the climate action consortium Framing Our Future, of which the zoo is an inaugural partner, protecting forests and nature can provide as much as one-third of the climate action needed to reach global climate goals by 2030. That’s why the exhibit experience will share the empowering story of the Papua New Guinea communities that have been working with Woodland Park Zoo’s Tree Kangaroo Conservation Program for over 25 years to save one of the last intact cloud forests of the world.

Guests will discover their own everyday connections to such communities and animals through the forest-friendly consumer choices they can make daily at home, in the office, at school, during a zoo visit, in their community and at the polls—to make lasting and impactful change.

Exhibit Highlights


Canopy Path

Wander among the treetops where tree kangaroos and red pandas make their home on this two-story elevated pathway offering viewpoints unlike anywhere else in the zoo.

Image provided by LMN Architects

Trailhead Pavilion

Meet the wonders of wildlife at all layers of the forest in the Habitat Gallery featuring boisterous keas, tree-dwelling reptiles, colorful amphibians, and fascinating invertebrates.

Image provided by LMN Architects

Conservation Action

Discover how endangered wildlife is linked to your everyday consumer choices and practice forest-friendly actions at the zoo, from sipping shade-grown coffee to upcycling green materials.

Image provided by LMN Architects

Community Power

Connect to global communities in mountain forests much like the Pacific Northwest who are leading solutions to protect, restore and sustain forests for animals and people.

Image provided by LMN Architects


Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |