Wallaby on the loose near Kemptville
Published Thursday, October 30, 2008 6:12PM EDT
A search for a missing kangaroo-like animal kept eastern Ontario residents on their toes Thursday.
Several animals escaped from Saunders Country Critters and Garden Centre near Kemptville after powerful winds during Tuesday night's storm helped knock down fencing at the zoo.
"I panicked really because I didn't know how many animals were out," said wallaby owner Gary Saunders.
One kangaroo and four wallabies escaped. All were found except for Wendell, a Bennett wallaby who was born at the centre.
"It grew up hanging on our bedroom doorknob for the first few months because you got to bottle feed it two or three times a night, the same as a baby. You really get attached to them," Gary told CTV Ottawa.
Gary and his wife Carla say they suspect the wallaby is probably scared, hungry and looking for warmth. They advise while the animal is not a danger to local residents, he likely won't hop home.
"Their instinct, once they get into an open spot, is just to run," said Gary.
Although Wendell travels fast and doesn't like the cold, Carla says she remains hopeful the wallaby will stay healthy while away from home.
"It's not that cold yet," she said. "There's lots of leaves on the ground for food, there's lots of snow for water."
The search for Wendell has attracted help from many animal lovers in the area.
"I walk dogs throughout the winter. Animals have been part of my life, my whole life. I actually never seen a wallaby, hopefully we'll find him," said one volunteer.
Wendell is about 2.5 feet tall with brown fur. He has already been spotted near Athens, 70-kilometres away from where he disappeared.
The Saunders ask anyone who sees Wendell to try to get him in a pillow case or blanket.
"Grab him by the base of the tail -- then you can control him," said Carla. "We want him home."
Anyone who spots Wendell or has information about his whereabouts is asked to call the zoo at 613-258-1108.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem