NewsRegionWayne County

Search continues for missing baby wallaby at Detroit Zoo

With every passing day, the chances of finding the Joey alive is unlikely, officials say
Posted at 5:46 PM, May 09, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-09 21:35:01-04

ROYAL OAK, Mich. (WXYZ) — The search continues for a less than 6-month-old wallaby at the 125-acre Detroit Zoo.

Officials say the Joey was last seen around 5 p.m. this past Saturday and was discovered missing from the zoo’s Australian Outback Adventure habitat early Sunday morning.

Around 15 volunteers and staff members are part of the search team.

One of them is Andrew McFerrin. The 24-year-old is heartbroken because not only did the zoo announce the arrival of the baby wallaby last week, but he has also been taking care of the mother Sprocket for the last three years.

"Mentally, I've been very frustrated in just thinking about all the possibilities of what could have happened, and it's not having that closure is the biggest thing for me," said McFerrin, a zookeeper in the mammal department at the Detroit Zoo.

Detroit Zoo’s Scott Carter believes with every passing day, the chances of finding the Joey alive are unlikely.

"He still needs to nurse, he would be leaving the pouch for short periods, so he will not live indefinitely on his own without his mom," said Carter, chief life sciences officer at the Detroit Zoo.

But the team is not giving up yet.

"One potential scenario is that an owl and a hawk was able to pick him up," Scott Carter said.

Carter says another working theory is that the Joey got out of the enclosure, and a slim chance that someone took the baby wallaby, who is the size of a small rabbit.

"We have staff searching this habitat still during the day, we have searched all the areas around the zoo and our security team is going through security footage we also have trail cameras in a number of places," Carter said.

Meanwhile, McFerrin says the Joey's mom Sprocket is doing pretty well and was seen searching around the habitat for her baby.

McFerrin describes the baby wallaby as very curious and would often be seen leaving Sprocket’s pouch to nibble on little things.

"At this point, we can’t rule out any possibilities, but we are trying to do everything we can to get to some sort of conclusion," McFerrin said.

Officials are saying if someone has taken the baby wallaby, please return the Joey to the Detroit Zoo. If people would like to help with the search, they are more than welcome to come down and assist the team.