Detroit Zoo "devastated" to announce it's calling off search for missing wallaby joey

wallaby joey in its mother's pouch
Photo credit Detroit Zoo

ROYAL OAK (WWJ) -- The search for a missing marsupial at the Detroit Zoo has ended without an answer as to what became of the animal.

The zoo announced Friday that it is ended is search for a 5-month-old wallaby joey that disappeared from the Australian Outback habitat last weekend.

While zoo officials theorized that the baby may have been taken by a hawk or an owl, there's no conclusive evidence to that effect.

In any case, the zoo said the joey — which was newly venturing from its mother's pouch and still nursing — would not have been able to survive for so many days on its own.

The zoo said, in a statement posted to Facebook:

"It is with heavy hearts that we announce we are ceasing our search for the wallaby joey who was discovered missing on Sunday, May 8.

We have exhausted every resource at our disposal, spent dozens of hours reviewing all trail cam and security footage, and thoroughly searched the Zoo and surrounding areas. We are heartbroken that nothing has revealed to us the location of this wallaby. At this point, after so many days away from the mother, we do not believe this joey could still be alive.

"The Detroit Zoo is a leader in animal welfare, widely known for spacious, naturalistic habitats that mimic what an animal might see in the wild. However, when tragedies like this occur, we must review and revisit our policies and procedures to ensure we are doing everything possible to preserve the life and welfare of the animals in our care. Our leadership team is currently undergoing this process.

"All of us at the Detroit Zoo mourn the loss of this joey, but we take solace in knowing that the mother wallaby, 4-year-old Sprocket, appears to be healthy and doing well. Animal care staff continues to provide her — and every animal at the Zoo — with the highest level of care.

"Thank you to everyone who followed the search for this joey and offered support. We are devastated this story did not have a happy ending."