December 11 2013 Latest news:
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
A mystery beast captured in a grainy image on Hampstead Heath last week could have been anything - a ghost, a llama, or just a hoax - but a dog walker was sure the creature was a wallaby.
Two videos have now revealed that Heath walker Edmund King was right as visitors to Highgate West Cemetery have spotted a wallaby hopping between the ivy-strewn graves.
Whether or not this is the same “beast” that roamed the Heath last week remains to be seen, but a wallaby has made the secure cemetery in Swain’s Lane, Highgate his home.
Visitor and volunteer coordinator Melanie Wynyard said someone first spied the marsupial, which belongs to the same family as the kangeroo, on Sunday.
“It’s quite extraordinary and so unexpected,” she said. “The West Cemetery is quite secure so it’s a mystery how he got in there but now he’s in, it’s quite a good place to be as he won’t be crossing the roads.”
“To spot a wallaby in London is quite strange.”
Staff at the cemetery have been giving the animal bits of apple as a treat.
Ms Wynyard added: “It’s going to totally upstage the tours of course. No-one is going to listen to what we are saying!”
Highgate zoologist Maurice Melzak, who gives ecology advice to Highgate Cemetery, was one of two visitors who filmed the wallaby.
He thinks it is a Bennett’s wallaby, a species known to be living in the wild in small colonies across the UK.
Mr Melzak said: “Highgate Cemetery is a mysterious and wonderful place. It already has many non-native species, including all sorts of insects and arachnids, grey squirrels, ring-necked parakeets and the occasional muntjak deer.
“So maybe the odd wallaby isn’t such a bizarre notion?”