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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.
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 were 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.
Many have compared some of these sightings to bipedal, dinosaur-like creatures reported across North America.
Tennessee, 1934: During mid-January 1934, an atypical kangaroo was reported to have killed and partially devoured several animals, including German Shepherd dogs. One witness, Reverend W. J. Hancock, described the animal as looking like a large kangaroo, running and leaping across a field. Another witness, Frank Cobb, soon found more evidence of the kangaroo’s activities: a dismembered German Shepherd. A search party followed the kangaroo's prints to a cave, where the trail ran out. The kangaroo was never found.
There have been recent attempts to label the story as a hoax by the late Horace N. Minnis, of the Chattanooga Times. However, Minnis was not a newspaper correspondent for the area at that time.
Chicago, 1974: In the early morning hours of 18 October 1974, Officer Michael Byrne and Leonard Ciagi of the Chicago police 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.
After the Chicago incident, kangaroo sightings were reported in Illinois and Wisconsin. The kangaroo was seen the next day by a paperboy, and again on the 23rd in Schiller Woods. Another police officer saw it on 1 November in Plano, just outside the city. He reported it jumping eight feet from a field into the road. Half an hour later it (or another one), was seen back in Chicago. It was then seen on the following three days in the surrounding countryside, and finally on the sixth, near Lansing. A few days later, there was a rash of sightings in Indiana.
- Clark, Jerome (1993). Unexplained! 347 Strange Sightings, Incredible Occurrences, and Puzzling Physical Phenomena. Detroit: Visible Ink Press. ISBN 0-8103-9436-7.
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