- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 19, 2004

SEVERN, Md. (AP) — Nearly five years ago, a wallaby named Kanga disappeared from Debbie Collison’s conservation center in Davidsonville.

So when Mrs. Collison heard about a wayward wallaby wandering the woods near Severn during the weekend, she hoped that the long-lost Kanga had reappeared.

Wallabies are native to Australia. They are marsupials with a mix of gray, red and brown fur. They grow to about 3 feet tall and weigh about 30 to 50 pounds when mature.

The wandering wallaby first showed up in the back yard of a Severn family about two months ago. The family had been feeding it since, while Anne Arundel County animal-control officers tried fruitlessly to catch it.

The wallaby was not only wayward, but also wise. When animal-control officers tried to trap the marsupial with food, the wallaby simply stole the food and eluded the traps.

On Monday, Ken and Jean Lauer of Severn lured the animal into a dog cage using Happy Hopper, a granola food for wallabies provided by Mrs. Collison, said county police spokesman Sgt. Shawn Urbas.

Yesterday, Mrs. Collison determined that the furry creature in the cage was not hers.

“We don’t think it’s Kanga. We think it’s a wallaby that got loose,” she said.

The wallaby caught Monday night is at Anne Arundel County Animal Control headquarters in Millersville, as police try to figure out what to do with the animal.

One possibility is Mrs. Collison’s National Endangered Wild Animal Research and Conservation Center.

She and her husband, Steve, are preparing a spot for the wallaby in case they are allowed to keep it in a sort of foster home arrangement until — or if — the owner steps forward. It will be in good company with the Mrs. Collison’s other wallaby, BeBe.

The animal Mrs. Collison lost was a Bennetts wallaby she had raised from birth. The Collisons came back from vacation to find Kanga gone. Mrs. Collison estimated that Kanga is now 8 or 9 years old. The animals typically live 12 to 15 years.

The Lauer family has nicknamed the animal Hoppy.

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