A kangaroo has escaped from the Haugaland Zoo in Karmøy, Rogaland County in southern Norway.
“We don't know what happened. But it must have been frightened or stressed,” zoo owner Bernt Kai Velde told national broadcaster NRK.
He thinks the kangaroo can find its way back to the zoo on its own, and therefore asks people not to try to catch it.
The fugitive has no name. According to the zoo, it's not old enough for them to see what gender it is. All in all, the zoo today has five kangaroos.
Velde expects the runaway to return soon, and has called the media attention surrounding the animal's disappearance overblown.
“It seems a little hysterical. It is not a lion or a tiger, but a kangaroo – and they are like long-tailed rabbits. It eats grass and leaves and is not dangerous to anyone,” Velde stressed.
Meanwhile, the sight of a kangaroo in the middle of Norway has raised some eyebrows. Teacher Vidar Levinsen saw the animal with his class.
“We saw it at a crossroads. It seemed a little confused. The kangaroo jumped back and forth, then it came leaping towards us. It hopped only a metre away from us,” Levinsen said.
Strange as it may seem, the exact same thing happened three years ago to the exact same zoo. In 2017, a kangaroo escaped from the Haugaland Zoo. It was found a day after, but was so wounded that it had to be put down.
Velde said he didn't fear the situation would repeat itself, as people have been instructed to leave the animal alone this time.
“Last time, it was worse than the national day parade. There were so many cars driving around and people whistling. They scared the wits out of the animal,” Velde said.
The Food Safety Authority said it was looking into the matter and waited for an explanation from the zoo as to what it was doing to prevent the situation. In 2017, the authority threatened to forcibly shut down the Haugaland Zoo. The zoo hired a veterinarian and continued to operate.