(NORTH SALEM, N.Y.) --Three years after he disappeared from his family in North Salem, Indy the wallaby has reportedly resurfaced.
North Salem News was contacted by a man via Twitter who thought he spotted the missing marsupial on April 8 near Seven Oaks Lane near Starr Ridge Manor.
“I think I just saw Indy near Starr Ridge Manor near North Salem,” said Peter Lind, “It moved across Seven Oaks Lane pretty quick, but I think it was Indy,” he said.
Lind said he was in his car at the time and unable to snap any photos. “When I saw it, I was like, what is that? It was the size of a large brown dog, but moved like a large rabbit,” Lind explained.
Susan Bush, whose family owned Indy, was thrilled to hear of another possible sighting.
“We’re hopeful,” she said. “It’s certainly good news that after three years he may still be alive and well.”
Bush said she has been thinking a lot recently about Indy and is planning to put his crate out into the yard along with some water, in the hopes he remembers his onetime home. The crate, she says, will be placed within view of her kitchen.
Her son got Indy in 2009 from a rescue in upstate New York. At the time, the wallaby had been kept crated without any opportunity to free range, and was used as an educational tool for students to learn about marsupials. Once her son purchased him from the rescue, he had him neutered and kept the 25 to 30 pound animal as an indoor companion animal who was given time to run free in the family’s gated yard.
Bush recalled him reclining outside on sunny days and described how the docile creature would enjoy snacking on Triscuits, apples and sweet potatoes. When not getting exercise in the yard, or lounging on the family’s couch indoors, Indy would enjoy being carried around in a special pouch by her son.
Indy went missing in 2014. Bush believes he jumped the six-foot fence along her property, possibly spooked by some deer who frequented the area.
There have been multiple sightings of him since then in Lewisboro, South Salem, Katonah, Mount Kisco and Bedford, and as far away as Armonk and Pawling. Most recently, as reported in North Salem News, Indy was spotted near the Amawalk Reservoir Dam in Somers by Department of Environmental Protection police who were on patrol.
A spokesman for the New York City DEP said the officers were on patrol around 1 a.m. Jan. 29 when they “clearly spotted” the wallaby in their headlights’ and watched it hop from Lake Road to Ashton Road before disappearing into the woods. They even tracked him for a time into the woods using thermal infrared cameras, which are designed to track and photograph warm-blooded mammals using heat from their bodies. They searched for about an hour before coming up empty.
Bush said the tail is a definite giveaway for those who think they may have spotted Indy.
“He has a really long, very thick tail that he uses for balance. When he’s running, it is straight behind him, horizontally for balance,” she said. She also explained it’s OK to grab Indy by the tail if you spot him, adding it’s a safe way to capture him, noting that the family had done so many times when he lived at their home.
Bush also explained that Indy had dexterous hands and was able to use them for various things, even opening their back door at times. She recalled one instance where he was at the Ruth M. Keeler Memorial Library during the Fourth of July and how he was able to grab and hold one of the miniature flags that were being used to celebrate the occasion.
In the meantime, she’s cautiously optimistic that some day Indy might return, and is encouraged that the reported sightings are getting closer to her home geographically.
“Everyone who sees me, including at places like the doctor’s office, people ask me, ‘how’s the wallaby?’ I just don’t know how he could survive in the wild, and through all these cold winters and evade predators like dogs and coyotes all this time. But it would be great to have him home again,” Bush said.