MEMPHIS, Tenn.– The Memphis Zoo had workers on standby ahead of severe weather Wednesday night but said they had just seconds to rescue kangaroos and wallabies when a nearby creek began flooding their enclosure.
They had to wrangle 22 kangaroos and four wallabies from the KangaZoo Exhibit. When they got them safely inside their hospital, they realized one of the wallabies was missing.
“It just hit so quick,” said Chief Marketing Officer Nick Harmeier, “That whole exhibit will flood if water gets high enough from Lick Creek.”
Lick Creek runs around KangaZoo. Harmeier says the enclosure flooded last year during a storm, but it didn’t happen nearly as fast as it did this time around.
“We were able to evacuate quite a bit better. No issues last year as far as animals go,” he said.
Seven years ago, a monkey at the Memphis zoo escaped its enclosure and was found inside the zoo’s drainage system two days later.
Zoo officials don’t believe the wallaby is still on the zoo grounds but could be in neighboring Overton Park.
“They can swim,” Harmeier said. “There is quite a bit of area around here. We are just being very hopeful.”
Zoo staff immediately began searching for the wallaby and are getting help from the Memphis Police Department.
They also ask the public to be on the lookout for the wallaby but ask folks not to approach it.
“They are very skittish animals. If you find it or see it call us here at the Memphis Zoo, call the Memphis Police Department,” Hameier said. “We’ll send someone out right then and there and grab it.”
Wallabies are smaller in stature than kangaroos.
If you spot the animal, call (901)-545-COPS or contact the Memphis Zoo at (901)-333-6500.