A kangaroo that escaped its handlers during transport to a new home has been captured east of Toronto after a weekend in the wild, but not before delivering a punch in the face to one of the police officers who brought her run to an end.
The female kangaroo hopped over her handlers late on Thursday during a rest stop at the Oshawa Zoo and Fun Farm in Ontario, the park’s head keeper Cameron Preyde told CBC.
Videos emerged on social media on Friday of the marsupial, who was born in captivity, running along roads in Oshawa, a town on Lake Ontario east of Toronto.
Officers on patrol spotted the kangaroo about 3am on Monday on a rural property in northern Oshawa, staff sergeant Chris Boileau told CBC Toronto.
Boileau said the officers contacted the kangaroo’s handlers and grabbed it by the tail, as instructed. The kangaroo punched one of the officers in the face during the capture, he said.
“It’s something that he and his platoon mates will be remembering for the rest of their careers,” he told CBC Toronto.
The kangaroo, which was en route to a zoo in Quebec, received medical treatment and will stay at the Oshawa Zoo for a few days of rest, Preyde said.
“We’re going to keep her here for a little while longer, let her rest up and make sure she is safe,” he said.
Dr George Wilson from Australian National University’s college of science said when confronted kangaroos usually “get back on their hind legs and whack you”.
“Especially if it has come from the zoo, it will be used to humans and will stand up to them.”
Wilson said a kick is the kangaroo’s primary defence mechanism, “not punching”, and they can do “a lot of damage” if they set their mind to it.
“They rock back on their tails and use two legs together and whack whatever is trying to attack them – a dog or dingo or indeed one another when they try to assert supremacy.”
But kangaroos also grapple and punch with their upper arms or forearms.
“There are stories of people putting gloves on the poor things, sideshows over the years,” Wilson said. “The famous boxing kangaroo became a symbol of Australia … back in the day.”
He said the kangaroo in the video could be a red kangaroo. “The ones that live in the arid zone of Australia, where the rainfall is less than 600mm a year.
“That’s where they prefer to live, in the outback.”