Rector on wild wallaby watch after 70mph collision|Ed Malone|cfz@eclipse.co.uk|09/04/06 at 08:11:08|obadiah|xx|0|86.131.101.101|From The Telegraph (UK): 21 Aug. 2006

Rector on wild wallaby watch after 70mph collision on M1

By Andrew Alderson, Chief Reporter

Car hire companies probably thought they had heard every excuse for vehicles
being returned with a dent - until, that is, they received an accident
report last week from the Rev Trott. His Hertz car was damaged when he hit a
wallaby on the M1.
Mr Trott, a member of the General Synod, was returning from a holiday in
France with his family when his Peugeot 407 struck the animal at night. The
accident left the car badly damaged and the wallaby, normally a native of
Australia, dead.
"I was simply relieved to keep the car on the road. My children were upset -
they like cuddly, furry things," he said yesterday. "I suppose it shouldn't
have been such a surprise because about 15 years ago I saw a kangaroo
sitting on the hard shoulder of the M1. My wife thought I had been drinking
but I was stone, cold sober at the time."
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Mr Trott, 48, the rector of Pitsford with Boughton, in Northampstonshire,
was travelling north in the central lane at 70mph near Junction 14 in
Buckinghamshire when he spotted the animal leave the central reservation and
hop across the carriageway in front of his car. He was unable to avoid it
and the marsupial was thrown back across the road on to the central
reservation.
Mr Trott, who was travelling with his wife, Caroline, and their three
children, aged 18, 16 and 13, said the event was shocking. "It might be
helpful if someone could discover what sort of numbers there are of
wallabies and kangaroos in Britian before someone is seriously injured," he
said.
"I am told that accidents with involving animals in Australia leave several
peole dead and injured every year."
Although the police were called in to investigate, it is not yet clear where
the white wallaby came from. A spokeswoman for nearby Woburn Safari Park in
Bedfordshire said none of its wallabies was missing but there were thought
to be pockets of wild wallabies in the region.
"They have been established a long time after escaping from various parks,"
she said. "It is quite unusual for them to be near motorways with all those
cars streaming past, because they are generally very shy animals."
There have been sporadic sightings of kangaroos and wallabies in Britain
since the Second World War after some escaped from zoos and -private
collections. There was a colony of red-necked -wallabies in the Peak
District in the 1950s and early 1960s and the population reached an
estimated 50. Their numbers plunged during the severe winter of 1962-1963,
and they are thought to have died out in the late 1990s.
There have also been sightings of other exotic animals in and around Britain
in recent months, apart from the usual frequent claims of big cats.
There have been two sightings of deadly Mako sharks and one of a bull shark
off Cornwall in the past month.
In Hackney Marshes, east London, a construction worker claims to have seen a
crocodile drag a Canada goose under the water. Lion's mane jellyfish, which
give a painful sting, have been spotted off Norfolk and Surrey. There are
also warnings that the deadly Asian tiger mosquito could head to Britain
from the Continent.
Thames Valley Police said that there had been occasional sightings of
wallabies in the area. Of Mr Trott's crash, a spokesman said: "We had
received some calls from motorists who had seen the wallaby loose on the M1.
Sadly, by the time we got there it had been in an accident and the animal
was dead. We arranged for the body to be disposed of."
Police have no plans to erect "Danger - Kangaroos Crossing" signs on the M1.
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