Relatives discovered the body of an elderly man killed by a kangaroo police believed was being kept as a pet. The attack happened in Southwest Australia, said police, Tuesday. A fatal attack by a kangaroo had not been reported since 1936.
About 250 miles southeast of the Western Australia state capital Perth in the semirural Redmond region, relatives discovered the seriously injured body of the 77-year-old man. Police believed that the man had been previously killed by the kangaroo who was put to death after it prevented paramedics from getting to the man to administer help.
“The kangaroo was posing an ongoing threat to emergency responders,” the statement said.
The victim was pronounced deceased at the scene. Police are gathering a report for the coroner’s office who will release an official cause of death.
The kangaroo was believed to have been kept as a pet by the older man.
The police media office said Tuesday no information was available about the victim’s permit status. There are legal restrictions on keeping the dangerous animals as pets.
In Western Australia, authorities rarely issue permits to keep kangaroos, said Tanya Irwin, a macropods caregiver at the Native Animal Rescue service in Perth.
“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,” Irwin added.
At her facility, animals are rehabilitated to be returned to the wild, especially kangaroos, said Irwin.
“You do 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.
In Australia’s southwest, the large Western gray kangaroos are common. They can stand 4 feet 3 inches tall and weigh up to 119 pounds.