A small Paris-area village is experiencing a mixture of bemusement and cultural shock, as it’s overrun by hordes of wallabies, thousands of kilometers away from their native Australia.
The origins of this European village transformation are far less mystical than it seems at first, however. A nearby nature reserve was set up decades ago, in the village of Emance, some 70km southwest of Paris.
These smaller relatives of kangaroos at one point decided that they weren’t OK with the border restrictions and then broke through (or jumped over) the wire fence, as evidence indicates.
This was back in the 1970s. Since then, the population had apparently found the climate very favorable and similar to their home in Tasmania, because they’ve been multiplying at a steady rate. According to AFP, researchers now put the population at 100, although one forester puts the estimate closer to 150. That’s quite an achievement, seeing as the wallaby’s lifespan is only about 15 years.
Perplexed locals had been questioning people if they might be “high” after being asked “have you seen that kangaroo?” according to grocer Marylene, from the neighboring Hermeray, who recalls an incident last June.
Reports indicate that some of the wallabies have migrated as far as 40km from Emance, to neighboring villages and forests.