Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect that the Pennsylvania Game Commission is trying to capture the animal.
LEBANON – Some Mount Zion residents are reporting an unlikely intruder in their backyards.
According to a few Lebanon residents, a kangaroo — or wallaby, as some have speculated — has been sighted in and around Mount Zion over the past week. Residents have posted photos and videos of the marsupial as it wanders through the area.
Efforts are being made by the PA State Game Commission to safely catch the kangaroo and place it in the care of an exotic wildlife center, according to the southeast region's information and education supervisor Dustin Stoner. He did not release the name of the exotic wildlife center as to prevent an inundation of calls to the facility. The Lebanon County Game Warden Derek Spitler has the proper equipment and is searching areas where first-hand reports of the kangaroo were made.
Until Spitler is able to catch the kangaroo, Stoner said anyone who sees it should call the southeast region game commission at (610) 926-3136.
"I would recommend that the public do not try to approach it or capture it," he said. "Report the incident, if they view it, as soon as possible."
Stoner said an original owner of the marsupial hasn't been identified and he hasn't received any reports of a lost animal matching its description. It's possible, if no one has come forward to claim the kangaroo, that it was illegally owned. Facilities housing exotic wildlife must be licensed by the state game commission to do so, Stoner said. Unlicensed facilities could face citations and fines related to wildlife ownership.
Hershey Entertainment & Resorts public relations director Quinn Bryner said Zoo America has been fielding calls pertaining to the kangaroo from Lebanon residents as well. Zoo America only cares for North American animals and therefore does not specialize in catching or caring for kangaroos, Bryner said.
Instead, she has directed callers to contact groups with that expertise. Lake Tobias in Halifax cares for a red kangaroo, but does not have a license to rescue loose animals, according to a park representative. In this case, residents should call the game commission.
The infamous marsupial was last seen in Mount Zion Monday morning.
Kristie Showers saw the kangaroo at her home on Freeport Road besides the Zoar Lutheran Church around 11 a.m. Aug. 16.
She shared a post on her personal Facebook page Aug. 13 with a few videos of what she called a “baby kangaroo” in her yard. Last night, the post was shared to the “Lebanon, PA Happenings” Facebook group. Now, it’s returned to her yard.
In the past week, several other residents took to the “Lebanon, PA Happenings” Facebook group to share videos and photos of the kangaroo visiting their backyards and nearby establishments.
Casey Tobias, 29, posted in the group asking if anybody had seen a kangaroo after tracking it down Aug. 8. Tobias, who lives in Schafferstown, was in Mount Zion fixing his parents’ barn when a man stopped by to ask if they were missing a kangaroo — Tobias’ family owns peacocks and other animals.
Tobias caught a glimpse of the kangaroo across from the Mount Zion Fire Company on Mount Zion Road at around 11 a.m. that day. Tobias tried to catch the kangaroo with a horse lead, but it ran into a neighboring yard.
“With the corn fields up yet, and all the wooded area, it can hide pretty quick,” he said.
When he lost sight of it, he called the state police non-emergency number and the dispatcher thought he was joking. Tobias said the officer told him that he would pass on the information about the kangaroo.
Since then, Tobias’ post has attracted a lot of attention in the group — it has gained over 100 comments and 90 shares. He answered many questions from other group members including the size of the kangaroo (approximately 3 feet).
Other comments described sightings near Stracks Dam Road and farther along Mount Zion Road.
At this point, the kangaroo -- or wallaby? -- is still on the loose.
LancasterOnline will update this story as it gets more information