ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — The search continues for a wallaby less than 6 months old at the 125-acre Detroit Zoo.
Officials say the Joey was last seen around 5 p.m. last Saturday and was discovered missing from the Australian zoo’s Outback Adventure habitat early Sunday morning.
About 15 volunteers and staff are part of the research team.
One of them is Andrew McFerrin. The 24-year-old is heartbroken as not only did the zoo announce the arrival of the baby wallaby last week, but he has also been caring for mother Sprocket for three years.
“Mentally, I got very frustrated thinking about all the possibilities of what could have happened, and it’s not the closure that’s the biggest thing for me,” said McFerrin, zookeeper at the Department of Detroit Zoo Mammals.
Scott Carter of the Detroit Zoo thinks that with each passing day, the chances of finding the Joey alive are unlikely.
“He still needs to nurse, he would leave the pouch for short periods of time, so he won’t live on his own without his mother indefinitely,” said Carter, life sciences manager at the Detroit Zoo.
But the team is not giving up yet.
“A potential scenario is that an owl and a hawk were able to pick it up,” Scott Carter said.
Carter says another working theory is that the Joey got out of the pen and there’s little chance anyone took the baby wallaby, which is the size of a small rabbit.
“We have staff who search this habitat still during the day, we have searched all areas around the zoo and our security team are reviewing security footage, we also have trail cameras in a number of locations “, Carter said.
Meanwhile, McFerrin says Joey’s mom, Sprocket, is doing pretty well and was seen looking for her baby in the habitat.
McFerrin describes the baby wallaby as very curious and would often be seen leaving Sprocket’s pouch to snack on small things.
“At this point, we can’t rule out any possibilities, but we’re trying to do everything we can to come to some sort of conclusion,” McFerrin said.
Officials say if someone has taken the baby wallaby, please return the Joey to the Detroit Zoo. If people wish to help with the research, they are more than welcome to come and help the team.