Page last updated at 14:49 GMT, Monday, 29 June 2009 15:49 UK

Escaped wallaby 'jumped 9ft wall'

Hopper
Members of the public are being urged not to feed Hopper

The owner of an escaped wallaby says his latest attempt to capture the animal failed when it jumped over a 9ft (2.7m) wall.

Hopper, a two-year-old male, dug its way out of the Kielder Water Bird of Prey Centre, near Hexham, Northumberland, almost a month ago.

Centre owner Ray Lowden cornered Hopper on Sunday night but the marsupial confounded him by clearing the wall.

"It was amazing," he said. "Even I didn't know they could jump that high."

Hopper was initially known to be grazing within just a few miles of the centre but has since moved about seven miles further away.

The problem is the long grass tends to keep him hidden, so once we arrive all he has to do is lay down and we can't see him
Ray Lowden

There have been repeated sightings but each time Mr Lowden arrives to capture the wallaby, it vanishes.

Sunday night was his closest encounter since Hopper escaped on 31 May.

He said: "I was literally about two feet away from him when he cleared the wall.

"The good news is, he's absolutely fit as a fiddle, so providing he doesn't get on the road and get run over, he should be fine."

Mr Lowden said he had been inundated with reports of sightings of the wallaby.

"The problem is the long grass tends to keep him hidden, so once we arrive all he has to do is lay down and we can't see him," he said.

Members of the public are being urged not to feed Hopper, as the animal is less likely to venture into the open if it is not hungry.



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