The Detroit Zoo's 4-year-old wallaby, Sprocket, has given birth to her first joey. The joey has just started leaving the mother's pouch, as seen in this photo. (Photo by Patti Truesdell | Detroit Zoological Society)
ROYAL OAK, MI - Detroit Zoo officials are offering their best guesses as to how their 5-month old wallaby mysteriously disappeared over the weekend as they continue to search for it. They also say this is the first time they’ve ever had an animal vanish from the property.
The Zoo posted an update on its Facebook page in the comment section of its missing wallaby joey post, saying there are native predators which live near the Zoo. They believe one of them probably flew in and snatched the joey out of the habitat.
“We’ve never had an animal disappear like this,” Scott Carter, chief Life Sciences officer at the Zoo told the Detroit News. “We can’t overlook the possibility that an owl or a hawk took the joey. It may be that is the case and we’ll never find the joey.”
Carter went on to tell the Detroit News that the joey was about the size of a small rabbit and that it’s also possible a member of the public took the joey, but not likely because staff and volunteers are always watching the habitat when people are visiting to make sure people stay on the habitat’s path.
The joey was last seen by animal care staff around 5:00 p.m. on Saturday and was discovered missing from the Australian Outback Adventure habitat early Sunday morning.
Sprocket, the Zoo’s 4-year old red-necked wallaby, is the joey’s mother. It’s her first joey. The Zoo had not yet determined the joey’s sex as it was still mostly living in its mother’s pouch and had just started venturing out on its own on occasion.
Security and staff are reviewing trail cameras and surveillance cameras all over the Zoo as they investigate the disappearance.
This 2-acre Australian Outback Adventure is home to a total of 11 kangaroos and wallabies. There are three other wallabies at the habitat including Sprocket, Eloise and Bucky, a joey born to Eloise in 2020.
Red-necked wallabies have reddish-brown or gray coats with dark muzzles, paws and feet. They use their large tails to help keep their balance while hopping, which is generally in a zigzag manner. A red-necked wallaby can jump more than 5 feet at a time.
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