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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. 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.
It is sometimes said there is a population of kangaroos living in the wild in the township of Émancé, about 50 km south-west of Paris. In fact, they are wallabies. These wallabies are descended from a breeding population which escaped during a botched burglary attempt at an animal park in the 1970s.
In 1831 two men off the Sydney Packet reported to the Collector of Customers in Australia that they had seen a giant kangaroo (nine meters in standing) at a small cove in Dusky Sound. They observed it on the bushline from a small boat and when they came too close it leapt into the water and ploughed through the water, leaving a wake extending from end of the sound to the other.
Documented colonies of red-necked wallabies exist in the United Kingdom. In Staffordshire, a breeding colony has established itself after breaking loose from a private zoo in Leek, Staffordshire in the 1930s. Their population peaked in the 1970s, reaching numbers between 60 and 70. There have been no confirmed sightings of the wallabies between 2000 and 2008, with some locals believing they must have died out. However, newspapers reported wallaby sightings in July 2009 (including clear pictures) and made reference to sightings in 2008. 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 October 2013 what was reported as a Bennett’s wallaby was filmed by zoologist Maurice Melzak in Highgate Cemetery, Hampstead, London.
In 1934 near South Pittsburg, Tennessee an atypical kangaroo or "kangaroolike beast" was reported by several witnesses over a five day period, and to have killed and partially devoured several animals, including ducks, geese, a German Shepherd police dog and other dogs. Kangaroos are typically unaggressive and vegetarian. A witness described the animal as looking "like a large kangaroo, running and leaping across a field." A search party followed the animal's tracks to a mountainside cave where they stopped. The animal was never found, and national news coverage drew widespread ridicule.
In 1974 in Chicago, Illinois, two Chicago police officers 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. Over the next month, numerous kangaroo sightings were reported in Illinois and the neighboring states of Indiana and Wisconsin, with timing suggesting more than one animal if reports were accurate. A kangaroo was seen the next day by a paperboy, the next week in Schiller Woods, Illinois, and the week after that just outside Plano, Illinois, reported by a police officer who said it jumped eight feet from a field into the road. Thirty minutes later a kangaroo was reported back in Chicago, then reported on the following three days in the surrounding countryside. A few days later, there were a rash of sightings in Indiana. Reports ceased about a month after the original story.
In 1978 in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, two men photographed a large kangaroo beside the highway. Author Loren Coleman, described as the "leading authority on North American kangaroo sightings", suggested the animal looked like a Bennett's wallaby.
In 2013 in Oklahoma a kangaroo was reportedly recorded by hunters in a field. The video was published on the website YouTube, and prompted speculation that the animal may be a pet kangaroo who went missing in the state just over a year earlier.
Also in 2013, The Ridgefield Press reported that a motorist in North Salem, New York captured on video what he thought was a kangaroo, and published the video on their website. The newspaper noted that escaped wallabies, smaller than kangaroos, were known in Westchester County, which encompasses North Salem. Several people in the county had kept wallabies as pets.
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