Report from Chris Smith
This story had legs, as journalistsí jargon would have it. Dead, long legs sadly ñ and possibly long dead legs. It has now appeared on TV and radio in Britain and Australia and in numerous newspapers, but in case any Ileach readers missed the coverage (which was often wrong), here are the facts.
Early on Tuesday morning (June 8), several people on their way to work, spotted a dead animal at the roadside by the airport. These included airport staff, Andrew Lindsay, Graham Bauld and Michael Corson.
They moved the marsupial, which certainly looked to have been in a road traffic accident, called the police and made other enquiries. It was agreed to bury the corpse ñ definitely a female wallaby, rather than a kangaroo ñ nearby. End of story. Except that as Word spread, having obviously caught peopleís imagination. The theories started. Had it dropped from a plane, could it be linked to someone visiting the ëReturn of the Childrení conference, had it even been brought by Port Ellen native Jim Baird, back from Australia for the McKerrel re-union.
The Ileach enquired into more local explanations. There is a colony of wallabies at the north end of the Isle of Man. And another in the Derbyshire Peak district, which manage to survive winters in the north of England. Then there are some a bit nearer to Islay. A group of the creatures live on one of the islands at the south of Loch Lomond, and there are numerous reports of them swimming, or hopping across the ice in winter, to explore new pastures. They have been seen around Balloch and Luss, neither of which is particularly far if you have long legs, from the road to Kennacraig.
The most likely explanation must be that this is all a prank, inspired by the dead fox found on Islay many years ago. This would mean that someone Islay-bound (should we offer a reward for information?) found the dead wallaby, brought it by road and ferry, and left it convincingly placed where it was discovered (see photo).
But hang on. At least two Islay folk are now saying that in recent months they have seen a creature they didnít recognise, with a big long tail. We said this story had legs.
© The Ileach Online, 12 th June 2004
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