Chester Zoo staff delighted at first sight of rare Goodfellow's tree kangaroo joey

A rare tree kangaroo joey - the first to ever be born at Chester Zoo - has emerged from its mum's pouch for the first time.

Conservationists caught the remarkable moment the tiny new joey - an endangered Goodfellow's tree kangaroo - peeked out from mum Kitawa's pouch - on camera.

The birth has been hailed as a "real celebration" for the conservation breeding programme which is working to protect the highly threatened species from extinction - with only two zoos in the U.K. caring for the animals. It's the first time Chester Zoo has bred the species in its 91-year history.

In a bid to discover more about the elusive creatures, conservationists have documented the growth of the joey using a special endoscope camera carefully placed into Kitawa's pouch every few weeks.

Experts noted that the data could help tree kangaroos, as well as other similar threatened species found in South East Asia, and their plight in the wild.

David White, team manager at the zoo, said: "Kitawa's joey is the first Goodfellow's tree kangaroo to ever be born at Chester Zoo in its 91-year-long history, so it's a real celebratory moment for the team and our efforts to protect this highly endangered species."

Tree kangaroos have one of the most complex birthing processes in the animal kingdom. When a joey is first born it's only the size of a jellybean and is incredibly underdeveloped. Moments after the birth, with eyes still tightly closed, the joey knows to instinctively crawl up mum's belly and into her pouch - following a channel that she has marked out by licking her fur.

Once safely in the pouch, the baby receives all of the nutrition it needs while it grows and develops for a further six months - up until it starts to pop its head out.