We’ve never asked a jeweler about a wallaby before.
But we had occasion to do just that yesterday, after reading about a wallaby named Jeff—the adorable pet of a man in Hattiesburg, Miss.—who broke through his backyard fence for a neighborhood walkabout on March 14, according to local news site Hattiesburg American.
The timid creature has been spotted several times in the nearby Lake Serene area, but has so far eluded capture. Thankfully, the weather is warm—local daytime temperatures have swung between 60 and 80 degrees in recent days. But the wallaby is a pet, not a wild animal, so there are very real concerns for his safety.
Local businesses, including Hattiesburg fine jewelry store Parris Jewelers, have stepped in to try to help bring him home. Parris Jewelers has been posting about the missing wallaby on its Facebook page for a week now, using the hashtag #findjeff, and is offering a $250 gift certificate to anyone who manages to humanely capture him.
“It’s a pretty big deal around here right now,” store manager Kayla Chambliss told JCK Tuesday evening. “We read about Jeff, and it’s such a sad story, we just wanted to help. We strive to be involved in our community. And it’s not every day a wallaby goes missing.”
(Another local business, Magnolia Graphics and Design, is offering a $200 cash reward to anyone who can help retrieve Jeff.)
A can-do community spirit lives in the comments of all the posts the jeweler has published about Jeff. One of the shop’s followers asked the jeweler, “When was the last time Jeff was seen? We have a lady that tracked him with her dog the last time he got out, we just need to know how old of a track we are talking about.”
Jeff’s owner, Logan Whitehead, told the Hattiesburg American that potential rescuers should not approach Jeff. Instead, “place a slice of bread or banana on the ground and let him approach to investigate. He will be easier to capture.”
Here’s hoping Jeff’s hopping happily in his backyard again very soon.
Top: Jeff the missing wallaby (courtesy of Logan Whitehead)