Missing kangaroo found safe by Durham police after escaping in Oshawa

After a four-day search, police have captured a lost kangaroo, but there are concerns about the zoo where the 'roo is being held.

A runaway kangaroo was found safe on Monday morning after it escaped from its handler in Oshawa late last week.

Durham Regional Police say the female kangaroo was spotted by officers with the canine unit around 3 a.m. near Wilson and Winchester roads, and then was successfully apprehended around 6 a.m. after it had “stopped to take a little break.”

“Officers managed to sneak up behind her and grab her tail,” reads an online post from the police, adding that grabbing a kangaroo by the tail is the “safest way to capture” them.

“The kangaroo gave up and surrendered peacefully to police officers.  She then received a ride in one of our kennels back to the zoo where she is being examined.”

The animal was in transit to Quebec when its delivery driver made a stop at the Oshawa Zoo on Thursday evening to let two of the animals “stretch their legs,” where one managed to escape.

A video taken from a passing vehicle and posted to social media showed the kangaroo hopping along a roadway on Friday morning. Team Chelsea, a lost pet search group, said the footage was taken around 7:45 a.m. near Winchester and Harmony roads in Oshawa.

According to the Toronto Star, the animal was located and nearly secured in a nearby backyard on the same day, but managed to escape again. There were no other reported sightings until it was found early Monday.

Police say the officers who found the kangaroo contacted the animal’s handler when they located it. The marsupial will be checked out by staff at the Oshawa Zoo while awaiting transport to Quebec.

The zoo said they had been working daily with police, Team Chelsea, and the kangaroo owner, in an effort to try to find the missing female. Crews were using a heat-seeking drone to assist with their search.

Wildlife officials say incident highlights ‘roadside zoo’ concerns

The Toronto Zoo’s CEO is raising the alarm about “roadside zoos” in the wake of the kangaroo incident.

Dolf DeJong tells CityNews his first reaction when he heard the animal was on the loose was “grave concern.”

“It’s a highly urban environment, (the kangaroo) is going to be in a challenging scenario just to survive the natural world, with the weather,” he says. “And then the public safety concern comes into it.”

Ontario’s solicitor general, Michael Kerzner, says it’s very important to look into how the kangaroo, whose name is Nathan, got away on Thursday during the pit stop.

Both the Toronto Zoo and the organization World Animal Protection Canada say zoos that are accredited have procedures and systems in place to minimize the risk of animals escaping.

“Whether it is about inter-provincial wildlife trade, which is federal jurisdiction, or the thousands of captive wildlife animals at Ontario’s roadside zoos, animals are left unprotected,” said Michèle Hamers, Wildlife Campaign Manager for World Animal Protection Canada, in a statement.

“Because there is no oversight, we have no idea where this kangaroo came from, whether the animal was transported in suitable conditions, the vaccination status of the animal, or any requirements for facilities accepting the animal, even temporarily.”

The Oshawa Zoo, where the kangaroo’s handler stopped to let the animal out, is not accredited and was one of 11 zoos profiled by World Animal Protection Canada in 2022.

With files from Kaitlin Lee

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