Australian Man Fistfights Kangaroo to Save His Dog’s Life

Paul Ciampanelli
man punches kangaroo
(Photo: man punches kangaroo)

There’s no love in the world like the love between a dog and its human. Most of us have spent enough time on social media to have seen the insane lengths to which people will go to celebrate their canine pals. But Greig Tonkins took it to extraordinary lengths when he went mano a mano with a wild kangaroo to save his dog’s life.

Tonkins, 34 at the time, was out hunting wild boar with friends when he encountered a different ferocious animal. He noticed that a kangaroo had gripped one of his dogs in a headlock. Tonkins ran to fight off the attacking ‘roo and save his dog.

Tonkins either didn’t know or didn’t care that kangaroos can be extremely dangerous to humans. Because he punched the kangaroo right in its face, forcing it to release the canine.

After video footage of Tonkins boxing the kangaroo went viral, he faced backlash online from people who were concerned about the ‘roo. The vitriol and threats grew so intense that Tonkins grew afraid to leave his house.

“There’s people on social media saying, ‘I know men like that, I bet they killed it afterwards,’” said one of Tonkins’ hunting companions. “But that’s just ridiculous. He only threw the punch to redirect the animal.”

“It made me sick … when people were wishing this family man and dog died, when the kangaroo wasn’t even hurt,” Tonkins’ fellow hunter added.

Meanwhile, PETA Australia condemned both Tonkins’ treatment of the kangaroo and of the initial hunting expedition itself. The animal-rights organization stated in a Facebook post, “Punching a kangaroo in the face is neither brave nor funny. It’s illegal, as is harassing native wildlife with dogs.”

Marco Festa-Bianchet, a National Geographic explorer who studies kangaroos, took a middle ground. He defended Tonkins’ split-second choice to defend his dog, but underlining how dangerous is was to approach the aggressive kangaroo.

“The guy’s very lucky because he could have been killed,” said Festa-Bianchet. According to Festa-Bianchet, kangaroos attack by kicking with their powerful hind legs. And it’s lucky for Tonkins he didn’t learn that first-hand.

“If the kangaroo had done that to the guy it could have disemboweled him,” Festa-Bianchet said.

What do you think? Check out the video of Tonkins punching the kangaroo and decide for yourself. Did Tonkins do his duty protecting his dog, or did he go too far when he attacked the kangaroo?