December 6 2013 Latest news:
Thursday, October 31, 2013
A wallaby thought to be the one spotted in Highgate Cemetery almost two weeks ago has been rescued by the RSPCA after it was found wandering the streets in Dartmouth Park.
The police and officers from the animal rescue charity were called after residents were stunned to find the animal hopping past their homes in the early hours this morning.
Sightings of the wallaby, described to the RSPCA as a “large wild animal causing chaos”, soon spread through social media sites with people warning nearby motorists to watch out for the marsupial in case it continued its travels on busier roads.
But the wallaby was eventually rescued by specialist officers from the charity after being found in a children’s playground in York Rise estate.
Although awaiting examination by a vet, it is thought to be unharmed.
RSPCA inspector Leigh Summers, who arrived with a capture net in hand, said he was expecting to find “a large rabbit” when he was called just after 7.30am.
He said: “I had been told by London Zoo to handle the wallaby by grasping its tail and to hold it as high as I could off the ground and as far away from me as possible to stop it finding any purchase for its legs.
“In fact, when I did grasp it the animal just hung there, relaxed, very much like a cat does when it is scruffed by its mother so I knew it was used to being handled like this.
“The biggest problem I had was untangling the netting around it when I got it back to the van.”
Inspector Summers said the wallaby was in a highly populated area where it was in danger of harming itself or road users.
The RSPCA said it is now looking for a new home to house the animal.
A spokesperson said: “We have placed the wallaby in temporary boarding for exotic animals in the Heathrow area.
“We will be looking for a new and permanent home for it.
“Like kangaroos, wallabies are herd animals who have very specific needs so we’ll be looking to house it somewhere where it can be with its own kind.”
Its rescue follows reports published in the Ham&High two weeks ago of a wallaby spotted in Hampstead Heath by resident Edmund King.
Video footage emerged five days later of a wallaby hopping between ivy-strewn graves in Highgate West Cemetery.
The charity believes the animal could be one of two escaped/abandoned wallaby pets.
Populations of red-necked wallabies became established in the wild in Britain back in the 1940s.
However, the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 prohibits the release of red-necked wallabies as they are a non-native species.