A 77-year-old Australian man was killed Sunday by a wild kangaroo that he may have been attempting to keep as a pet.
The man was found with serious injuries at his home in Redmond, a small city located about 250 miles southeast of Perth. He later died at the scene, local police said Tuesday.
Police had to shoot the kangaroo at the scene because it was blocking access to the man and posing a threat to emergency responders, according to a statement.
It is unclear why the animal attacked, but experts say that kangaroos do not do well in situations where they are captive, and that may have provoked the incident.
There are legal restrictions on keeping kangaroos as pets in the country. Authorities did not confirm whether the victim had acquired a rare permit to have the animal.
Kangaroos can get aggressive and fight when they feel threatened, and do so by standing on their legs and using them to forcefully kick their opponent. They are also able to use their arms and claws to “punch.” Kangaroos also have sharp teeth.
“The problem with kangaroos and people is we’re both upright animals, we stand on our two feet, and an upright stance like that is a challenge to the male kangaroo,” Graeme Coulson, an expert on kangaroo behavior, told BBC News.
“Certainly, if they’re cornered or in some sort of distress, that can be quite dangerous,” Coulson said.
The incident was the first fatal attack on a human by a kangaroo in Australia since 1936.