Dutch police forced to spend last fortnight chasing down escaped wallabies (yes, this is real)

Leaving aside coronavirus, the major problem the Netherlands is dealing with at the moment is wallabies. No, seriously.

Animal welfare organisations have sounded the alarm about wallabies in the Netherlands. Yes, wallabies, as in those cute little mini kangaroos that LIVE IN AUSTRALIA. (Also Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, but you get my point).

Police are busy chasing down wallabies

Over the last two weeks, police officers who haven’t been busy handing out coronavirus fines have been chasing down escaped wallabies. This follows the attack of caterpillars on the Netherlands a few months ago.

Somehow, the Netherlands does not ban owning *a wild animal* from *a different continent* as a pet. In fact, it doesn’t even require you to have a licence to do so. There are a whole bunch of problems with this, not least animal welfare. Wallabies need a large amount of space to live in: they love to run and jump. And escape.

Unsuitable living conditions for wallabies in the Netherlands

Most wallabies in the Netherlands are kept in pens or in a small backyard, neither of which are adequate for their needs. Because they are wild animals, they are naturally inclined to try to escape, especially in summertime, which is their mating season.

It’s nigh on impossible to create the conditions that would keep wallabies safe and happy in the Netherlands. They need a 5 metre high fence, first of all, because they can jump that high.

Buying a wallaby is apparently a status symbol for some people

According to biologist Maurice La Haye from the Mammal Society who spoke with NU.nl, people often buy exotic animals as status symbols. “They look cute and people see it as a kind of status symbol. Look at me having a crazy pet! But of course that should never be a motive for buying an animal.”

Our advice: don’t buy a wallaby

We know you’re bored and at home and desperate to spend your money, but please, don’t buy a wallaby. Just get yourself a nice little cactus and leave it at that.

Should the Netherlands introduce a ban on owning exotic animals? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

Feature Image: MabelAmber/Pixabay

Ailish Lalor
Ailish was born in Sydney, Australia, but grew up by a forest in south-east Ireland, which she has attempted to replace with a living room filled with plants in The Hague. Besides catering to her army of pannenkoekenplantjes, Ailish spends her days convincing her friends that all food is better slightly burnt, plotting ways to hang out with dogs and cats, and of course, writing for DutchReview.

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