Intrepid Jungle Jonny goes on Wally watch|selkie||01/11/08 at 20:38:35|selkie|xx|0||BIGFOOT, the Abominable Snowman, the Loch Ness Monster, the Beast of Bodmin and now . . . the Ferry Meadows wallaby.
Ever since what is believed to have been a wallaby – a marsupial native to Tasmania, Australia – was spotted hopping around the country park, Wally-hunters have descended on the Peterborough beauty spot.

However, proving as elusive as his legendary cousins, Wally seems to either have gone into hiding or moved on to pastures new.

Nevertheless, on Saturday, a determined duo of Evening Telegraph wallaby trackers – ET photographer Alan Storer blowing his didgeredoo and his journalist sidekick humming Tie Me Kangaroo Down Sport – spent an hour at the nature spot, scouring the area around the riding stables where Wally was spotted on Thursday morning.

With binoculars poised and eyes pricked, every rustle from the undergrowth was a false alarm – a bird taking flight, a scurrying squirrel or an over-excited Labrador.

Alas, there was no wallaby.

No paw prints, no droppings, no sign. Maybe Wally doesn't like Rolf Harris?

We took a new approach. "Neighbours, everybody needs good neighbours . . ."

It seemed a clutch of dog walkers and city residents enjoying the bracing freshness of an autumn morning had similar misfortune.

What did we expect? To turn a corner and find Wally reclining in a deckchair next to a smoking barbecue.

"G'day lads. Strewth, how did you find me? No worries though. Pull up a chair, I'll throw another shrimp on the barbie."

FACTFILE... on wallabies

WALLABIES may not be as abundant as rabbits or squirrels in the British countryside – however, sightings of the creatures are not unheard of.

There are colonies in the Peak District, near Loch Lomond and the Isle of Man, while other sightings are likely to be escapees from zoos.

Wallabies tend to be solitary creatures, but become especially active at dusk and during the night.

According to the Londonbased Mammals Park Trust, wallabies generally lie still in the day to avoid detection, but if they are startled, they panic and have been known to jump off cliffs or in front of cars in an attempt to get away.

Feeding mostly on heather, bracken, bilberries and grasses, wallabies have no natural predators in the UK, except for the occasional killing by a dog or fox.

They stand up to 80cm tall, weigh 22kg and can live for up to 18 years.


The person who spotted Wally – Jodie Skells, a chef at the Lakeside Bar and Café – reckons her sighting could be the last people in Peterborough see of him.

She said: "He was moving pretty fast, so by now he could be gone."

However, it hasn't stopped café owner Charlotte Freeman from offering a reward to the first person to take a photograph of Wally to prove his existence.

She said: "Everyone is talking about the wallaby.

"If anyone can prove they have seen him, we will give them a home-made cake."

Meanwhile, one wag has left a message on the answer phone at the café asking if they are now serving wallaby steak.

And a diner joked: "You couldn't make it up. It's a great tourist attraction.

"Children would love the idea of a colony of wallabies living in Ferry Meadows."

But, for now, the hunt goes on...||