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Escaped wallaroo on the loose in New York state

May 14, 2009 | 11:30 am

An escaped wallaroo named Bandit is proving a worthy adversary to those who've attempted to recapture him in a small hamlet near the New York State Thruway.  Bandit's owner, Jeff Taylor II, bought the wallaroo last month and plans to incorporate him into his traveling wildlife education program, Wild Animal Experience.  It's unclear how Bandit escaped, but Taylor has said he suspects someone may have purposely let him out of his barn. 

Since then, the year-old wallaroo has been sighted many times, but his would-be captors have yet to get close enough to catch him.  And, of course, being a wallaroo, he's fast!  From the Syracuse Post-Standard:

Earlier this week the wallaroo was spotted near the barn he escaped from, and then by the Thruway and then in a nearby backyard. On Tuesday, neighbors on horseback got within 10 yards of the animal before it fled. The previous morning, a bus full of kids saw him on their way to school.

All of the activity appears to take place within 100 acres of where Bandit is kept on Lakeport Road, but the animal is as skittish as a deer. If there's a bustle in the hedgerow, he's gone.

[Taylor] knows that the animal grazes at dusk and dawn, but it's probably impossible to get close enough to throw a net on him. A tranquilizer gun may be too dangerous.

The local animal control department has set up a trap to catch Bandit, but it's been unsuccessful so far.  In the meantime, he seems to be faring reasonably well and has access to food and water in the woods, where he seems to be spending most of his time.  The main concern for area authorities is that he might hop onto the Thruway, disrupting drivers and potentially being injured himself.

Wallaroos are, as the name suggests, midway size-wise between a kangaroo and a wallaby. Bandit stands about 3 feet high and can hop at a rate of about 30 miles per hour.

--Lindsay Barnett

Video: Syracuse Post-Standard

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