Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Americans kill Skippy!

A RUNAWAY kangaroo named Skippy died after it was shot with a tranquiliser dart by US wildlife officers - just days after an emu was killed by German police.

The kangaroo escaped from captivity at a private home in Hancock County, Indiana, on Friday when two teenage girls left its cage open.

It had spent the weekend bounding through the area - much to the surprise of locals.

Jim Greider saw the kangaroo on Friday night and thought it was a huge rabbit.

His family and guests went out to watch the animal hop down the road in front of his house and a few motorists swerved to avoid it.

"I didn't even know anyone here had a kangaroo," said Greider, 53.

Hancock County Animal Control officers captured the Australian marsupial early today not far from its home.

The cause of Skippy's death was not known, said Kenny McConahay, an officer with the Hancock County Animal Control Department.

The amount of tranquilizer used in the dart was only half of the recommended dose, McConahay said.

"When our officer left the scene, it was still alive and coming out of sedation. It was recovering," McConahay said.

Skippy's owners, David and Sue Schutt, were unavailable for comment. Skippy got loose on Friday when two teenage girls opened his cage.

"I left the gate open and the lights on for him ... thinking he would come back," said Sue Schutt.

Indiana does not require a permit to keep kangaroos, said Dean Shadley, a wildlife conservation officer with the state Department of Natural Resources.

"I can't imagine there are very many kangaroos in Indiana," said Shadley. "I've worked here for 33 years, and this is the first I've heard of one."

An Australian emu was shot dead on May 25 following a cross-border chase in Europe.

Police in Switzerland and Germany were both involved in the hunt for the creature.

The operation ended tragically when German officers opened fire on the bird.

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