Missing kangaroo returns to Czech zoo after a year on the run

Dobby the kangaroo, suspected to have been stolen from Skalka Family Park Ostrava last year, has made a miraculous pre-Christmas return.

Jason Pirodsky

Written by Jason Pirodsky Published on 09.12.2023 13:32:00 (updated on 18.12.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Dobby the kangaroo, who has been missing for a year from a private mini-zoo in Ostrava, has made a miraculous pre-Christmas return. Skalka Family Park Ostrava, who had almost given up hope of locating the kangaroo following a year-long search, revealed that Dobby finally made his way home on Thursday.

While Dobby's exact movements over the past year are unknown, the zoo speculated that he had most likely been stolen rather than escaping at the end of last year, and was released in a forest near the zoo in recent weeks.

The heartwarming reunion was made possible by the vigilance of locals in Krásné Pole, who spotted the kangaroo hopping around the village at the end of November. Security camera footage provided hope, and Marian Mlynář, the owner of land where Dobby sought refuge, played a crucial role in facilitating the kangaroo's capture.

"Although we didn't believe it anymore, this story has a happy ending," the zoo posted on social media. "The kangaroo, which was most likely released by the kidnapper, had been on the move for the past few days and was hiding at night on private property in the village of Krásné Pole."

Pavel Thiemel, caretaker at Skalka Family Park Ostrava, described the two-week process of coaxing Dobby back by using a bait box filled with treats. The successful strategy involved replacing the solid lid with a net, allowing for a swift and humane capture. Scars on Dobby's snout confirmed his identity, showcasing abrasions likely incurred during transport.

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After an hour in quarantine, Dobby rejoined his kangaroo companions on Thursday, displaying signs of relief and well-being. The caretakers, expressing gratitude to those involved in the capture, including Mr. Mlynář, highlighted the cooperative effort that led to Dobby's return.

The incident had perplexed staff at Skalka Family Park Ostrava last year, as Dobby's disappearance could not be explained by a breach in the enclosure. The absence of damage to locks suggested a potential theft, with suspicions leaning toward someone familiar with the park's layout. The zoo had offered a reward of five thousand crowns for Dobby's return.

Dobby's penchant for human contact likely contributed to his willingness to approach the garden in Krásné Pole in recent weeks. The heartening resolution of this story captivated the local community in Ostrava and brought the zoo a unexpected gift just in time for Christmas.

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