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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 15, 2002

Wandering wallaby released

By Curtis Lum
Advertiser Staff Writer

The Tabalanza family of Foster Village didn't have to travel to the land Down Under to come face to face with a rock wallaby.

Linda Haller, director of shelter operations at the Hawaiian Humane Society, looks in on the wallaby that was captured in Foster Village. The small relative of a kangaroo was later freed to join its wild colony in Kalihi Valley.

Richard Ambo • The Honolulu Advertiser

The miniature kangaroo showed up in the Tabalanzas' back yard on Kukila Street yesterday morning. The wallaby was munching on grass when he was sighted.

The family called police, who notified the Hawaiian Humane Society. Animal experts caught the hopping marsupial with a fish net and brought him to the Humane Society for a quick checkup.

The wayward wallaby was turned over to state wildlife officials, who released it yesterday afternoon in its Kalihi Valley habitat, said Humane Society spokeswoman Eve Holt.

Rock wallabies, native to Australia, have established a colony in Kalihi Valley. State officials estimate there are anywhere from 40 to 250 wallabies on O'ahu.

The wallaby is a type of kangaroo but is much smaller, standing only about knee-high and weighing 8 to 13 pounds.

In 1916, three wallabies were brought from Australia to a private zoo on 'Alewa Heights. Neighborhood dogs attacked the wallabies, killing a young wallaby. Two adult wallabies escaped.

The wallaby pair established a colony that continues to thrive in Kalihi Valley.

Wallabies once inhabited the area from Nu'uanu to Halawa Valley, but an increase in homebuilding, as well as dogs, narrowed their range to the steep cliffs and dry caves of Kalihi Valley.