Baggage handlers at Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) became animal wranglers, albeit briefly, when a wallaby staged an escape recently.
The animal was on its way to a family-owned zoo and animal preserve near Deadwood, South Dakota, when he managed to escape the kennel that held him and a female wallaby.
The female wallaby stayed inside the box while airport workers corralled the 7-month-old male.
According to Samantha Bell, vice president of the Roo Ranch, the animals were shipped by air from a breeding facility in Oklahoma. How the kennel door became unlatched is a mystery.
“We may never know what really happened,” she said. “We were told that the five-pound wallaby kicked his way out of the kennel, but that’s not really possible.” Wallabies are not aggressive by nature, she noted.
The wallaby was outside the box for just a few minutes before being captured and placed back in the kennel for the rest of the trip, but his airport adventure was enough to inspire a name: Tarmac.
“My mother, Roxy Bell, who is the president of the Roo Ranch, came up with it,” Bell explained. “We have over 50 animals here and they get names for things they did. The female that was shipped with him, for example, managed to cut her lip and now we’re calling her ‘Stitch’.”
The Roo Ranch is a seasonal business, opening in the late spring.
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