Mystery wallaby found in apple orchard in Latvia

Take note – story published 6 years ago

On the morning of February 22, a kangaroo was found at an apple orchard near a country home in Iecava, central Latvia - or so we thought.

The visitor was found lying asleep, evidently not worried by snow and freezing temperatures as low as -10C across the country, nor by the fact that it was approximately 13,000 kilometers from its natural habitat, Iecava being a not inconsiderable distance from the vast sandy expanses of the Australian Outback, and completely lacking when it comes to billabongs.

Distance from Latvia to Australia
Distance from Latvia to Australia

Riga Zoo representative Māris Lielkalns says locals took the animal inside and looked after it until employees from the zoo arrived to collect it.

Its master couldn't be identified, as it did not have a chip nor any documents in its pouch, so it was taken to the Riga Zoo. 

It is currently alive and well at a quarantined building at the zoo.

"It looks very well, from what we can tell. Of course it's frightened but it hasn't been harmed, we can't find any scars... We can't tell what will become of it, as we have to watch for any damage done by the cold. We have to monitor it and then we'll be able to say for certain," said Lielkalns. 


However, following the publication of this story, an eagle-eyed reader suggested the roving vagabond was not a kangaroo but a wallaby - a fact subsequently confirmed by the zoo when LSM posed the question.

Thanks to our readership!

FOLLOW-UP: Lielkalns later confirmed in response to LSM concerned queries on February 23 that the animal is safe and sound. After its outdoorsy sojourn, the wallaby male was famished and voraciously consumed the vegetarian food it was offered. 

Its owners are yet to be found, Lielkalns told LSM.

The Australian embassy in Sweden, which also has responsibility for Latvia, was contacted by LSM for comment on their compatriot.

"I’d just like to express our many thanks to all who helped save this lovely wallaby. We’re hoping it stays healthy and warm – just like the bilateral relations between Australia and Latvia!" said ambassador Jonathan Kenna.

And in further development another member of our amazingly astute readership even found a link between the wallaby story and the banking scandals occupying all the non-marsupial headlines!

Therefore we have decided to call this incident "Wallabygate".

Anyone who has misplaced a wallaby in recent days is advised to contact Riga Zoo as a matter of urgency, or we will be forced to hire him as a roving reporter for LSM's English-language service.

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