Summary of eRumor:
The Wyoming Wild Game Department and the Wyoming Migration Initiative have teamed up to introduce the first 90 kangaroos in Wyoming in what’s become known as “Operation Sage Hopper.”
Many people missed the punchline of an April Fool’s gag about kangaroos being introduced in Wyoming.
The (fake) news report appeared at the website of Wyoming-based news outlet County 10 on, you guessed it, April Food’s Day. The story appeared under the headline, “First 90 Kangaroos released in Wyoming,” and begins:
(Dubois, Wyo) – The Wyoming Wild Game Department (WWGD) partnering with the Wyoming Migration Initiative (WMI) have released the first of 5 planned batches of 90 Antilopine Kangaroos into the Wyoming outdoors.
Dubbed “Project Sage Hopper” by the WWGD team responsible for evaluating the viability of Wyoming’s habitat for Australian marsupials, it has been in the planning stages for 3 years. The goal is two-fold: Create new and interesting wildlife viewing opportunities for tourists, and in several years, potentially provide additional hunting opportunities.
“Antilopine means ‘antelope-like, so we are interested to see how these kangeroos adapt to Wyoming’s wild landscapes,” WMI Director Matt Kauffman said. “If they start migrating, we’ll be tracking their movements, looking to see how they learn to exploit the sage steppe and the mountains, where they ‘hopover,’ those sorts of things.”
The report included a convincing edited photo that appeared to show biologists releasing a Kangaroo in Wyoming. However, the original photo actually shows biologists with the Wyoming Migration Initiative releasing a mule deer into the greater Yellowstone ecosystem to track the species’ migration habits:
The April Fool’s gag about kangaroos released in Wyoming was fueled by the Wyoming Migration Initiative’s official Facebook page. The post appearing on the group’s official page “confirmed” that the reports were true. Later, the group posted a clarification to the Facebook page:
Yesterday the folks over at County10.com developed and ran an APRIL FOOLS’ joke about kangaroos being introduced into Wyoming. And we played along. Kangaroos were NOT introduced into Wyoming yesterday, nor should they ever be. Many of you were shocked to hear of this development and warned of the ecological consequences of adding an exotic mammal (especially a prolific one) to Wyoming’s native fauna. We appreciate your outrage. Indeed, there is a well documented record of the detrimental effects that the introduction of species like Norwegian rats, the brown tree snake, European starlings, and wild pigs (just to name a few) have had on native ecosystems.
So, rumors that kangaroos are being introduced in Wyoming are nothing more than an April Fools’ joke that got carried away.
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