Kangaroo on the loose in Canadian town: 'Jumped over their heads'

The kangaroo was being transported to another zoo when it escaped. It's been on the run for days.

A search is on for a kangaroo seen hopping around a town in Ontario, Canada — more than 14,000 kilometres away from its native Australia.

Drivers were stunned when they saw the animal jumping on the side of two roads in Oshawa, a small city east of Toronto, on Friday morning in the middle of winter. Footage shows the roo avoiding cars by bounding on bitumen protected by boulders, and along a frosted grassy area.

The kangaroo hopping on the side of two different roads.
There have been numerous sightings of the kangaroo in Oshawa, a small city east of Toronto. Source: CHCH News Youtube/X

Paul Rellinger told a local publication he saw the kangaroo while taking his 13-year-old daughter to school. “We thought it was a deer, but then saw it hopping along the side of the road,” he said. Durham Regional Police said they received calls about the animal around 7.40am but officers couldn’t find it when they arrived. Residents are encouraged not to approach the animal, which has yet to be found.

Where did the kangaroo come from?

The marsupial was in the process of being transferred to a zoo in Quebec on Thursday night when it escaped staff at the Oshawa Zoo and Fun Farm, CTV News Toronto reports. “It jumped over their heads,” Cameron Preyde, an employee with the zoo, said. “We are in the process of tracking it down. This is not our kangaroo. It was just supposed to be a stopover, like a hotel room, on its way to Quebec.”

Volunteers trying to catch the kangaroo have received around 30 sightings of the animal and the search continued on Saturday.

Concerns for kangaroo's health

Volunteers and employees at Oshawa Zoo came close to wrangling the roo on Friday night but it hopped away again as temperatures hovered above freezing, CTV reports. “On a day like today, at The Toronto Zoo, the kangaroos, the wallabies, would have a choice to go outside, but what we're concerned about, in this case, is prolonged exposure,” Toronto Zoo CEO Dolf DeJong told the publication.

There are also concerns the kangaroo could come into contract with other humans or coyotes.

Cameron, who has worked at the zoo for 30 years, said he’s never seen anything like the kangaroo’s escape before. “Normally, we’ve got very good control over the animals,” he said. “This is just a one-off incident that really sucks.”

Roo on the loose weeks after wallabies found in Vietnam

Just weeks ago a mob of wallabies were found wandering the streets of northern Vietnam, highlighting the global illegal wildlife trade, which is estimated to be worth US$10 to $23 billion per year, according to the World Wildlife Foundation (WWF) and data conducted at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

Ben Pearson, Country Director at World Animal Protection, told Yahoo News Australia earlier this month that Aussie reptiles and birds are in particular high demand overseas, but animals of all different species are illegally exported in distressingly high volumes.

“Illegal trafficking is huge,” he said. “Unfortunately in Australia, mostly, it’s about reptiles and birds. That’s really what you see — but you also see hundreds of others [species] too. Authorities are constantly catching people trying to smuggle.

“And Australia is a popular source country, because so many of our animals are unique to our ecosystems.”

Love Australia's weird and wonderful environment? Get our new weekly newsletter showcasing the week’s best stories.

Banner reads 'What on Earth' with 'Subscribe to our new weekly newsletter' and a collage of images of australian natural wildlife.
Click here to sign up to our newsletter.