Grey kangaroos feed on grass near Canberra, Australia. AP
A wild kangaroo that was kept as a pet allegedly killed its owner in southwest Australia, in the first fatal attack by the animal in the country since 1936.
Police said that the 77-year-old man with “serious injuries” was found on his property by a relative on Sunday in semi-rural Redmond, 400km (250 miles) southeast of the Western Australia state capital Perth.
According to the police, the man was believed to have been attacked earlier in the day by the animal.
The kangaroo was shot dead by the police because it was preventing paramedics from reaching the injured man.
“The kangaroo was posing an ongoing threat to emergency responders,” the police statement said.
Police believe that the animal had been kept as a pet.
Australian law has restrictions on keeping native fauna as pets.
The last time a kangaroo fatally attacked a human was in 1936 when 38-year-old William Cruickshank from New South Wales died at a hospital months after he’d been attacked by a kangaroo.
He suffered extensive head injuries including a broken jaw as he attempted to rescue his two dogs from a large kangaroo, The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper reported at the time.
According to animal experts, the attack on the elderly man over the weekend was “not surprising”, reported NCA NewsWire.
“I’ve seen it … male kangaroos taking each other on and fighting. Their nickname is the boxing kangaroo and that’s because they do kick. Their claws are really big, and they’re muscly.
“Their bodies are built for this … they’re built for boxing and they’re built for battle in some cases,” Australian Reptile Park life science manager Hayley Shute told the news outlet.
Western grey kangaroos are common in Australia’s southwest. They can weigh up to 54kg (119 pounds) and reach 1.3m (4ft 3in) in height.
“The public sort of see kangaroos and koalas as fluffy, cuddly animals. I think it’s just important to note that they are wild animals and there’s a level of respect you have to give them,” she added.
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