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Periodically, reports of kangaroos, wallabies, or their accompanying footprints have been made in places where one would not expect them—specifically, areas where there is no native population.[1] Some explanations put forth are escaped zoo or circus animals, or publicity stunts by local businesses using photographs from Australia. Others suggest outbreaks of such sightings are a form of mass hysteria.

Contents

United Kingdom

There is at least one verifiable example of a population of wild wallabies outside Australia. Documented colonies of red-necked wallabies exist in the United Kingdom. In Derbyshire, a breeding colony has established itself after breaking loose from a private zoo in Leek, Staffordshire in the 1930s.[2] Their population peaked in the 1970s, reaching numbers between 60 and 70. There have been no confirmed sightings of the wallabies since 2000, however, with some locals believing they must have died out. Even so, other Wallaby colonies exist in the UK, including reliable reports from the Fenland on the Norfolk/Lincolnshire border; and there are a few in Ashdown Forest, Sussex. In May 2001 The Sun reported that the Derbyshire wallabies were hunted for their meat by eastern European immigrants and included images of a half cooked wallaby. While many copies of the paper still exist The Sun still denies running the story.

In Scotland, Inchconnachan, an island in Loch Lomond has a population of wallabies as well. Lady Arran Colquhoun introduced them in the 1920s.[3]

France

There is a verifiable population of kangaroos living in the wild in the township of Émancé, about an hour outside of Paris.[4] The kangaroos are descended from a breeding population which escaped during a botched burglary attempt at an animal park in the 1970s.

Germany

In the years before World War I, there was a colony of wallabies in Prussia, raised by a hunter living there. When he died, shortly before WWI, they became easy prey to local deer hunters.

United States

Many of these sightings are very similar to reports of the Jersey Devil.

Tennessee, 1934: During mid-January 1934, an atypical kangaroo was reported to have killed and partially devoured several animals, including German shepherd dogs. One witness, Reverend W. J. Hancock, described the animal as looking like a large kangaroo, running and leaping across a field. Another witness, Frank Cobb, soon found more evidence of the kangaroo’s activities: a dismembered alsatian. A search party followed the kangaroo's prints to a cave, where the trail ran out. The kangaroo was never found.

There have been recent attempts to label the story as a hoax by the late Horace N. Minnis, of the Chattanooga Times. However, Minnis was not a newspaper correspondent for the area at that time.

Chicago, 1974: In the early morning hours of October 18, 1974, Officer Michael Byrne and Leonard Ciagi of the Chicago police were called to investigate a report that a kangaroo was standing in someone's porch. After a brief search, the officers located the animal in an alleyway, but were unable to capture it.[1]

After the Chicago incident, kangaroo sightings were reported in Illinois and Wisconsin.[1] The kangaroo was seen the next day by a paperboy, and again on the 23rd in Schiller Woods. Another police officer saw it on November 1 in Plano, just outside the city. He reported it jumping eight feet from a field into the road. Half an hour later it (or another one), was seen back in Chicago. It was then seen on the following three days in the surrounding countryside, and finally on the sixth, near Lansing. A few days later, there was a rash of sightings in Indiana.

Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, 1978: two men photographed a large kangaroo beside the highway.[1] (picture supplied) Loren Coleman compares the pictures to a Bennett's wallaby.

Japan

Between 2003 and 2010, there was a series of phantom kangaroo sightings in the Mayama mountain district of Osaki city in Miyagi prefecture [5]

See also

Whidbey Island Washington state has reports and eyewitness accounts of a kangaroo widly believed to be an escaped pet.

References

  1. ^ a b c d Clark, Jerome (1993). Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-8103-9436-7. 
  2. ^ "Derbyshire's Wallabies". Bbc.co.uk. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A786477. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  3. ^ "Loch Lomond Islands: Inchconnachan". Loch Lomond.net. http://www.loch-lomond.net/islands/inchconnachan.html. Retrieved 2007-08-24. 
  4. ^ "Roos are driving French hopping mad". Smh.com.au. 2009-07-29. http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/roos-are-driving-french-hopping-mad/2006/02/11/1139542445052.html. Retrieved 2010-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Phantom kangaroos spotted in Japan". ABC.net.au. 2010-03-09. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/09/2840119.htm. Retrieved 2010-03-11. 

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