KINGSTON – As of Friday afternoon, Willow, the missing wallaroo, had not been found.
Willow is a 14-month-old baby wallaroo – essentially a miniature kangaroo – who disappeared from her home in rural Kingston about 8 p.m. Tuesday. The 2-foot-tall gray marsupial weighs between 15 and 20 pounds and is the pet of the Cleveland family.
“She follows me around and wants to snuggle with me all the time,” owner Jenny Cleveland said.
On Friday, Cleveland said she had only been contacted by one person who thought they might have seen Willow near Baseline Road. Cleveland’s sons searched the property, but didn’t find their wallaroo. She said she thought the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office may have received more calls, but none turned into solid leads.
A local man contacted the family and offered to send up two remote-control airplanes – one equipped with a camera and one with an infrared sensor – if they got a solid lead on an area where Willow might be, Cleveland said.
Cleveland bought the wallaroo in January from an exotic pet breeder in Texas. She recently had a beloved dog put down, she said, and didn’t want another dog. Cleveland said she had first contacted the breeder a few years earlier while researching wallaroos as pets.
“I wanted one for a while,” she said. “But I made sure I went with somebody reputable, who does this because they love the animals, not just to make money.”
Cleveland said no permits or licenses are needed to keep wallaroos in Illinois.
Anyone who sees Willow is asked to call the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office at 815-895-2155, DeKalb County Animal Control at 815-758-6673 or the Cleveland family at 815-751-1156.