Are Australia’s kangaroos addicted to fast food?
WE’RE all guilty of craving a Big Mac from time to time, but it seems these kangaroos are willing to fight for one.
After a recent spate of feisty attacks, tourists have been warned against feeding kangaroos fast food.
Lake Macquarie local MP Greg Piper described the gory incidences in a recent Facebook video as a “local tourism phenomenon”.
Piper explained visitors to the area are keen to see the kangaroos at Morrissett Hospital, a psychiatric facility in New South Wales.
It is one of the few places travelers can see and get close to many kangaroos in one place.
Visitors to the hospital are allowed to take selfies and pet the kangaroos but feeding them is not part of the package.
Knowing the power and potential ferocity of a kangaroo, it’s surprising anyone would want to get close enough to feed them, let alone introduce them to the world of Ronald McDonald.
Kangaroos are wildly protective over their young and males regularly box each other for fun to assert their dominance or compete for mates.
While the front legs don’t do much harm, the hind legs pack a lethal punch. Combined with the razor-sharp claws, they’re not to be messed with.
Piper explains the regular feeding of processed products, such as potato chips and McDonald’s, has led kangaroos to actively seek food from visitors.
“We have seen a lot of people get injured through feeding the kangaroos. They’ve been kicked, scratched, one person even got seven stitches in their face and one guy even left here in an ambulance when his stomach got cut,” Shane Lewis from the park’s shuttle service said in the same video.
Kangaroos typically graze on grass but the introduction of sugar to their diet has caused an addiction to processed food.
“You can rustle a chip packet and they know what’s in there,” Lewis told The Guardian. “That makes them aggressive.”
In addition to “Do Not Feed The Kangaroos,’’ signs around the park, Lewis has taken to showing visitors images of injuries caused by the creatures.
“We try to scare them into not being naive and thinking they’re cute and cuddly by showing them the photos, what can happen, and not to give them any food,” he added.
The area receives around 2,000 visitors per week and Piper wants to ensure everyone is safe.
He has called upon the state’s national parks department and health department to install multi-lingual warning signs, as well as toilets at the park.