A kangaroo attacked a man in Redmond, Australia, and blocked emergency paramedics from getting to him in time, leading to his death – the first fatal attack by a kangaroo in Australia since 1936.
The Western Australian Police Force released a statement saying that the 77-year-old man may have been keeping the wild kangaroo as a pet and that he sustained “serious injuries” on his property in western Australia, 250 miles southeast of Perth, before a relative found him and summoned emergency responders.
Police were forced to shoot and kill the kangaroo after the animal prevented paramedics from reaching the injured man.
Western gray kangaroos are common in Australia’s southwest. They weigh up to 119 pounds and stand 4 feet tall. Males can be aggressive, and in a fight they will use their short upper limbs to grapple with their opponent and lash out with their powerful clawed hind legs.
“The kangaroo was posing an ongoing threat to emergency responders,” the police statement said.
In part because of the delay, the man died at the scene. The coroner’s office has not released an official cause of death.
Permits allow some Australian citizens to have kangaroos on their property, but laws prohibit keeping Australian native fauna as pets.
Tanya Irwin, who cares for macropods at the Native Animal Rescue service in Perth, said authorities rarely issue permits to keep kangaroos in western Australia.
“This looks like it was an adult male and they become quite aggressive, and they don’t do well in captivity,” Irwin said. “We don’t know what the situation was; if he was in pain or why he was being kept in captivity, and unfortunately … they’re not a cute animal, they’re a wild animal.”
Death by kangaroo attacks are extremely rare; the last reported death was nearly a century ago. In 1936, William Cruickshank, 38, died in a hospital in Hillston in New South Wales state on the Australian east coast months after he had been attacked by a kangaroo.