Search is on for missing pet wallaby in Illinois

A family in Monee, IL is asking for help in finding their missing pet wallaby. (WLS, KEN ZEILSTRA, JOSIE HANGE, CNN)
Published: Sep. 16, 2023 at 12:37 PM CDT
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MONEE, Ill. (WLS) - An unusual pet is on the loose in Illinois as one woman searches for her runaway wallaby.

Josie Hange got the call of a sighting of her wallaby Rupert and sprang into action.

“This is the first visual spotting we’ve had of him. Somebody caught him on camera, so I have to get him today,” Hange said.

She said Rupert took off after escaping his fence at her home Tuesday night.

The video shows the wallaby hopping along the property of Ken Zeilstra’s nearby home.

“And all of a sudden I looked out the window and there he was. We don’t see things like that out here. It just doesn’t happen,” Zeilstra said.

Hange and a small group of volunteers, including some from Tinley Park PAWS, are now searching nearby.

“I’ve done dogs, cats, birds, tortoises, a deer, a horse, but this is my first wallaby. We just want him to know a familiar scent with him, so Josie carries around his blanket. We have scent items around their house,” said Jenny Kowalski, who is part of the Tinley Park PAWS Lead Rescue Team.

Hange has been out every morning and night since Rupert vanished, doing everything she can to find her wallaby, who’s part of the family.

“Frantic, chaos, I’m not going to lie, I’m very emotional and there’s too many to count at this point. More than anything, worry. I’m a mom. So, it’s worry. I’m scared,” Hange said.

Hange said she’s just hoping for more resources and more volunteers to help find Rupert because there is a lot of ground to cover. She has even called in friends of friends to search the fields by drone.

And everyone is looking on the ground for well-defined wallaby tracks.

“We just want him home safe,” Hange said.