Somerset

Wallaby roaming wild in Somerset countryside captured

Captured wallaby Image copyright Chris Moiser
Image caption The female wallaby was captured by zoo staff near Taunton

A wallaby was captured by zoo staff after it was spotted roaming in fields in Somerset.

The red-necked wallaby, or Bennett's wallaby, had been seen with others in an area west of Taunton for months before it was caught on Sunday.

Staff from Tropiquaria Zoo, based in Watchet, were helped by locals to box the marsupial in an enclosed paddock.

Chris Moiser and Jane Bassett, of the zoo, said they spent "a few hectic minutes" chasing the female down.

Mr Moiser said the species was usually found in its native eastern Australia and Tasmania, but small groups were known to be wild in the UK, France and New Zealand.

"Fortunately they seem to do little to damage the domestic ecology, so where they do establish there are usually no great efforts to eradicate them," he said.

Mr Moiser said the animal did not escape from Tropiquaria, but because it keeps the species, people call the zoo when they see them in the wild.

"There are a number of private keepers in the area that I am aware of, but they are proving difficult to contact," he said.

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