The owners of an exotic animal petting zoo in Arlington are seeking the public’s help in locating a missing marsupial.
While she was being transported from a car to the Outback Kangaroo Farm Friday, Bella, a 6-year-old wallaby, jumped out of her cage and fled across Highway 530, according to Outback owner Ray Strom. Searchers looked through the wooded area across the highway but have been unable to find her.
Bella’s owner, Gayle Van Alstyne, was taking her three wallabies, Boomer, Bella and Bindy to the farm after Strom and his wife, Joey, agreed to take care of them. Van Alstyne drove them from her Maple Valley home to Arlington, and during the journey the wire kennel may have loosened, which allowed Bella to jump out, she said.
A neighbor told Strom that he saw a car on the highway swerve to avoid her, and then watched the wallaby roll along the side of the road and take off.
Van Alstyne said she thinks Bella will be able to find enough to eat, but is concerned about how she’ll fare in the outdoors. Wallabies need to sleep under heat lamps if the temperature gets too cold, she said.
“We’re just so worried that she is going to die of exposure if we don’t find her soon,” Van Alstyne said.
Strom said there’s also concern about predators.
“Hopefully it will come up to people, but, unfortunately, there are coyotes in the area,” Strom said.
Bella has a honey-brown coat, with white fur on her chest. She is 35 pounds and about 2½ feet tall, but more like 3½ feet if she is standing, Van Alstyne said. When she is scared, she gets low to the ground. She has worked with autistic children and visited first-grade classrooms to teach students about Australian animals, Van Alstyne said, so she is accustomed to being around people.
Anyone who sees her is asked to call Strom at 306-403-7474 or Van Alstyne at 206-743-7082.
In 2002, a wallaby went on the run in Pierce County and was found after it jumped in front of a deputy’s cruiser in Gig Harbor. Officials said at the time that the deputy had to call for back up because the wallaby, named Mia, was so fast.