Confusion as driver finds lone wallaby on rural road in England

Strangely it's not even the first time a wallaby has surprised locals in England, or in Cornwall for that matter – a small county in the nation's south.

A wallaby seen wandering the streets of Cornwall, in England's south, earlier this week.
A wallaby has been found wandering the streets of Cornwall, in England's south – thousands of kilometres away from its natural habitat. Source: CornwallLive

Locals in England's south have been left scratching their heads after spotting a wallaby hopping down a regional road, thousands of kilometres away from its natural habitat in Australia.

The little creature, which was first mistaken for a kangaroo, was seen in Cornwall in the country's far south, about a five hour drive from London. Local man Kieran Adams said he was driving down the quiet road at 5.30am on Tuesday when he made the baffling discovery.

Adams, 26, said he initially thought the marsupial was a kangaroo before taking a closer look. "Since when did we have kangaroos in Cornwall? What is it? I'm telling you that's a kangaroo," he can be heard saying in video footage.

A wallaby seen wandering the streets of Cornwall, in England's south, earlier this week.
While it's very rare to see a wallaby in suburban UK, there are some pockets of the nation where wild populations exist. Source: CornwallLive

Adams spoke to UK media and confirmed he later realised the animal was indeed a wallaby after following it down the road for about 10 minutes. "I was a bit shocked to see a wallaby in Cornwall, it was quite the sight to see," he told CornwallLive.

"My parents joked that I've been working nights for too long, so I must have been seeing things."

Adams said what made the discovery even more puzzling was the fact there "aren't many zoos" in the area. "So I wasn't sure where to report it but my mum said she would look into reporting it," he said.

While wallabies are native to Australia, they are kept in zoos and as pets — sometimes illegally — all over the world. In the UK, there are in fact some wild wallabies in existence, though they're most commonly found on farms and in zoos. Another wallaby was reportedly also found roaming the streets in Cornwall back in 2020.

It's not the first time locals have been left stumped after finding the distinctly Australian animal abroad. Yahoo News Australia reported in November that Vietnamese authorities had seized a mob that was found on the outskirts of Cao Bang, a province in the country's north.

Images emerged on social media in late 2023 appearing to show three wallabies scavenging around bushes. Vietnamese authorities claimed they'd likely "been brought from Australia by smugglers" who reportedly "dropped them along the Vietnam-China border" after they were discovered with the animals.

In fact, just last week an escaped kangaroo was found wandering a Texas neighbourhood after it escaped from its owner's home.

Globally, the illegal wildlife trade is estimated to be worth US$10 to $23 billion per year, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and data collected by the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Though, it's "almost impossible to tell" exactly how many animals are smuggled annually.

In 2023, Yahoo spoke to British man “Cookie”, a famed online wildlife chaser who managed to track down a mob of wallabies famously spotted in Midlands in the UK. He chronicled the captivating moment on camera and uploaded it to TikTok, attracting over 1.5 million views at the time.

Meanwhile this year he shared a similarly successful find of a kookaburra in Scotland. “They’ve been known about locally for a few years – they think the birds escaped from a wildlife park,” he told Yahoo News. “People had photographed them because they didn’t know what they were. They’d land on washing lines or fences in people’s gardens and they’d post photos online.”

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