A local family witnessed a shocking attack by a kangaroo on a Lake Cathie boy.
Shirley Everingham and her family, had just finished a barbecue lunch when a large female kangaroo attacked her grandson. Zakkiah Galea, who is nearly two years old, was playing quietly approximately 15 metres from the verandah of his Hardys Road home when the attack occurred.
“We heard a little cry and couldn’t believe our eyes when we looked over,” Shirley said. “The kangaroo was jumping up and down on him. It was so aggressive and nasty.”
Shirley said the attack continued even as Zakkiah’s mother and others ran towards them. They were shocked to find the boy curled up on the ground, covered in blood.
Zakkiah was transferred to the Port Macquarie Base Hospital where he was sedated and treated for multiple gashes, wounds and scratches.
“As his Nanna I found the whole experience really scary,” Shirley said.
Although Shirley had noticed a small group of kangaroos on the far side of the 7½ acre property a few hours earlier, she is confident no one in the family did anything to provoke the attack on Zakkiah.
The animal continued to act aggressively towards other adult family members hours after the attack, which has caused ongoing concern. Shirley said her family had become used to the presence of kangaroos.
“We can take kangaroos for granted and forget they are a wild animal,” she said.
In Lake Innes in early October a couple was attacked by a kangaroo on their Long Point Drive property. Both required medical attention, the man also needed 10 stitches in his leg following the attack. Andrew Marshall from the Hastings area office of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) has been consulted about the attack. He confirmed that native wildlife and fauna are protected by law in Australia. In this case, permission has been given for the female eastern grey to be euthanised.
“In this case we discussed with the family whether there were opportunities to mitigate the risk or threat of future attacks and manage the potential for contact interactions between kangaroos and family members,” he said.
Mr Marshall emphasised that this should always be the first option, as it generally results in a better wildlife management outcome and a longer lasting solution.
“This case did not add up with normal cause factors for a female roo to be aggressive,” Mr Marshall said.
National Parks and Wildlife Service staff are happy to work with communities and local authorities if kangaroos or other native animals become a problem. In cases of genuine risk or threat to humans, they advise people to contact the local NPWS Office for advice as soon as possible.
Local NPWS Area Offices are based at: Macleay Area Office - South West Rocks phone 6566 6621; Hastings Area Office - Port Macquarie phone 6588 5555; Manning Area Office - Taree phone 6539 4100.
Further information is available on the NPWS website www.environment.nsw.gov.au.