ultrafacts:What the Heck Are Wallabies Doing in…

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What the Heck Are Wallabies Doing in Ireland?

Normally spotted in Australia, the marsupial species is thriving on a remote island off the Irish coast

Peter Wilson was director of the Dublin Zoo in the mid-1980s when its wallaby population expanded rapidly. Their enclosure was too small to house all of them, and Wilson had a difficult time finding the excess wallabies a new home. Wilson said he was sure Australia would not want them back either. Not wanting to euthanize the animals if he could find them a home, Wilson turned to the Baring family, whose private island was an ideal choice with its extant population of the species.

Wilson put seven wallabies in crates and shipped them to the island.

Since their arrival, the former zoo wallabies have thrived. “It’s a wonderful sanctuary for them, there’s lots of thick vegetation for cover when the weather’s cold, and there’s a lot of grass and things for them to eat, so it’s an absolutely perfect place for them.”

The population has steadily grown, and estimates between 30 and 50 wallabies live on Lambay today. 

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