A pet kangaroo is believed to be responsible for the death of an elderly man in Western Australia.
The 77-year-old was found by a family member on Sunday suffering from what police described as “serious injuries”.
Despite an ambulance being called, the man died at the scene. It's the first report of someone being attacked and killed by a kangaroo since 1936.
Police confirmed they drove to the property in Redmond, north of Albany, following a call for assistance after the kangaroo prevented the ambulance crew from rendering help.
What happened to the kangaroo?
In a statement police confirmed officers shot the kangaroo as it was “posing an ongoing threat to emergency responders”.
They believe the wild animal was being kept as a pet by the man on his property. Following his death, a report will now be prepared for the coroner.
Are kangaroo deaths rare?
While it’s estimated 37 humans died between 2001 and 2017 after encounters with kangaroos, all were the result of a vehicle incident, with 20 involving motorcycles.
The data was released by the National Coronial Information System in 2020, as part of a summary of animal-related deaths in Australia.
While kangaroo attacks occasionally occur, the last recorded direct death involved a 38-year-old man in 1936 who was attempting to rescue his dogs.
Newspaper reports from the time said he suffered extensive head injuries which resulted in him later dying in hospital.
Can I keep a kangaroo as a pet?
In the United States, there are some commercial breeders offering kangaroos for sale online.
In Australia however, keeping the animals as pets is incredibly rare, although the state of Victoria does offer licenses to do so.
Western Australia's department of environment confirmed under the state's Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016, kangaroos cannot be kept as pets.
The Australian Reptile Park on the NSW Central Coast houses a number of kangaroos, and its operations manager Billy Collett says staff are "extremely careful" particularly when females are in season.
He warns during this time males can become "very dangerous" because they become fixated on reaching a potential mate.
As a result, Mr Collett said he would "never recommend" having an adult kangaroo as a pet.
"Kangaroos are very powerful and some of the species get massive, like the red kangaroos and eastern and western greys," he told Yahoo News Australia.
"Behaviour especially in males can be quite full on, and they get massive. Some of these bucks can be over 70kg in weight which is the size of a grown man."
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