Environment Canterbury is hunting down a rogue wallaby seen near Methven.
The regional council received an anonymous tip-off about the Australian import after it was spotted by a resident driving along Mt Hutt Station Road on January 1 2019.
The council said it, the wallaby, not the resident, is unlikely to have hopped all the way from South Canterbury of its own accord.
Biosecurity team leader South Canterbury Brent Glentworth said the wallaby had either escaped from or been released by people who had transported them from the containment zone.
Wallabies are legally confined to the zone between the Rangitata and Waitaki rivers but have been sighted as far afield as Marlborough, Dunedin and Amberley.
Glentworth said he had an anonymous tip-off from a member of the public about the latest sighting.
“Environment Canterbury has received communication that wallaby could have been removed from the containment area and held on a property in that area for a few days,” Glentworth said.
He was planning on approaching property owners in the area.
“It’s not out of the realms of possibility that the wallaby got there by itself, but it’s unlikely,” he said.
“Habitat north of the Rangitata River was not conducive to the spread of the nocturnal marsupials, and it was a long way away at 44 kilometres.”
Environment Canterbury intended to humanely destroy the wallaby and would try and locate it by walking the area.
Wallabies were imported from Tasmania to Christchurch in 1870 and hunted for their meat and fur. Now considered a pest, three wallabies can consume as much food as a single sheep.