An Australian man wasn’t just going to sit back while his dog was trapped in a headlock with a massive kangaroo.
Recent DNA studies have found that dogs have been man’s best friend for 33,000 years, so while it usually comes as no surprise when they’re protective of us and we’re protective of them, 34-year-old Greig Tonkins seems to have gone above and beyond.
As you can see in the insanely viral video (scroll below), Tonkins rushed to his pup’s defense and popped the feisty roo right in the nose. Pretty much the best boxing match since Ali and Frazier faced off in the Thrilla in Manila.
It’s clear from the footage that the dog was about to be in for a rude awakening if Tonkins hadn’t stepped in, though some people are criticizing him for not retreating as soon as the marsupial let go of his companion.
National Geographic has pointed out that this behavior “raises questions about man vs. nature.”
In spite of what we’ve been told, kangaroos don’t typically go straight for punches in a fight. Instead, they balance on their tails and kick with their back legs. Another preferred kangaroo fighting technique involves straight-up clawing the living hell out of their opponents’ eyes.
The incident between Tonkins and the kangaroo occurred while he was out in New South Wales with a buddy hunting a large boar, which Tonkins is also being criticized for. The zoo Tonkins works for released a statement that while his job is not in jeopardy, they do not condone his methods.
“The highest standards of animal welfare and care are a core value of Taronga and one that we expect our staff to uphold in all their interactions with wildlife,” a spokesperson for Taronga Western Plains Zoo wrote.
“Taronga strongly opposes the striking of animals and does not support the practice of using dogs to hunt, as this can result in negative welfare for both species.”
Others have rushed to Greig’s defense, saying he did nothing wrong in the way he scared off the aggressive kangaroo, or in the hunting of an invasive species.
The trip was organized for a friend who was dying of cancer, Kailem Barwick, whose goal was to catch a a 100 kg boar before he passed away.
“The guy’s very lucky because he could have been killed,” Marco Festa-Bianchet, a Quebec NatGeo explorer and kangaroo expert said.
Festa-Bianchet added that Tonkins could easily have been “disemboweled” due to the aforementioned typical confrontational kangaroo behavior a.k.a. kicking and scratching (who knew, kangaroos kind of fight like [really strong] 14-year-old girls).
Tonkins seems to be mostly let off the hook for possibly going a little over-the-top. After all, not many of us are able to stay grounded while in the heat of the moment. Especially when the particular moment involves a 6’0″ 160+ pound wild, territorial animal.
“I’m sure the punch hurt,” Festa-Bianchet said. “You can tell the kangaroo is like, ‘Whoa what was that?’ That’s not what another kangaroo would do and a human does not give the right signals. It kind of looks funny but it really was a dangerous situation.”
“[Tonkins] was obviously hyped up and had to make a split decision,” he continued. “He clearly felt threatened by the animal and wanted to save his dog.”
“Still, I would advise against doing that,” he concluded.
In spite of insisting that he will not be fired, Taronga Western Plains Zoo did say they were considering “appropriate action.”