77-year-old man killed by kangaroo in southwest Australia
A 77-year-old man who may have kept a wild kangaroo as a pet has been killed by the animal in southwestern Australia, police said.
It would be the first fatal attack by a kangaroo in Australia since 1936.
A relative found the man with ‘severe injuries’ at his semi-rural property in Redmond, 250 miles southeast of Western Australia’s state capital, Perth.
He was believed to have been attacked earlier in the day by the kangaroo, which police shot dead because it was preventing paramedics from reaching the injured man.
“The kangaroo posed an ongoing threat to emergency responders,” police said.
The man died at the scene. The police prepare a report for a coroner who will record an official cause of death.
Police believe the victim kept the wild kangaroo as a pet.
There are legal restrictions on keeping Australian native wildlife as pets, but the police media office said it had no information to release as to whether the victim had a permit.
Tanya Irwin, who cares for kangaroos at Native Animal Rescue in Perth, said authorities rarely issue permits to keep animals in Western Australia.
“It looks like an adult male and they get quite aggressive and they don’t do well in captivity,” Ms Irwin said.
“We don’t know what the situation was – if he was in pain or why he was being held in captivity and unfortunately…he’s not a cute animal, he’s a wild animal,” she added.
Ms Irwin said her rescue center is still rehabilitating native animals with the aim of getting them back into the wild, especially kangaroos.
“You need a special permit to be able to do that. I don’t believe they really give them out very often, unless you’re a wildlife center with trained people who know what they’re doing,” she said.
Western gray kangaroos are common in southwestern Australia. They can weigh up to 54 kg (119 pounds) and stand 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in).
Males can be aggressive and fight people with the same techniques they use against each other. They use their short upper limbs to grapple with their opponent, use their muscular tails to support their body weight, and then lash out with their powerful clawed hind legs.
In 1936, 38-year-old William Cruickshank died in a hospital in Hillston, New South Wales a few months after being attacked by a kangaroo.
Ms Cruickshank suffered serious head injuries, including a broken jaw, while trying to save her two dogs from a large kangaroo, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported at the time.