After nearly a week, the one-and-a-half-year-old wallaby reported missing in Chautauqua County has been caught.
The wallaby is back home with its owner safe and sound, and we got the chance to speak with the volunteer trappers who were able to track down and get the animal back home.
It’s quite an uncommon thing to imagine a wallaby bouncing around in the forests of rural New York, and this made it hard for people to miss the exotic animal if they saw it out and about.
The case of the missing wallaby sees a happy ending. On Sunday, Oct. 1, Charlie Source reported one of his three wallabies had escaped its enclosure.
It had been spotted hopping around various locations close by, and when local trapping experts picked up on the story, they offered to help, even though it was unlike anything they’d ever done before.
“When you’re trapping dogs, it’s a totally different game. You have to run scent trails and this and that. The wallaby, he’s a marsupial, which means he eats vegetation, so you don’t put a trail out for him,” said Beth Thompson, a Great Dames Trap and Recover volunteer.
Yet after several different sightings inside a barn, that’s exactly what Thompson did.
The trapper team placed a large dog cage in the barn equipped with a laser trigger that would close the kennel’s door.
“We just put a little trail of lettuce into the trap, and we have him on camera. He’s here, then he’s there, but he sat there for nearly 20 minutes before he even tripped the laser,” said Vicki Cusimano, another volunteer at Great Dames Trap and Recover.
The volunteers with Great Dames Trap and Recover said they were lucky the wallaby was already familiar with a cage like theirs, meaning it was more likely to get comfortable and take the bait.
“The trap is the same type of dog kennel that he uses at the farm for these animals to stay in, so he was already comfortable going in and out of it,” said Thompson.
So many people have been on the hunt for the missing wallaby, sending tips, sightings and support. The pair said without that support from the community, things could have been different.
“This whole thing starts with the spotters. Everybody wants to give us all of the credit, but it’s the spotters who give us the sightings and it all starts from there,” said Cusimano. “Once all of that happens, then we can go in to do our job. It’s really a group effort.”
The volunteers with Great Dames Trap and Recover said they’re proud to help pets of all kinds find their way back to their owners.