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From aww to Huh ? – The curious case of a “Grieving Kangaroo”

It was indeed a heart-wrenching moment, a grieving male kangaroo cradles the head of his lifeless female companion as she reaches for her joey.

male Kangaroo mating causes death of female looks like he is cradling as she reaches for teh joey

                                                                      Photo: Evan Switzer Photography.

Evan Switzer said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he was walking through his neighbour’s acreage on Monday afternoon  on a bushland property in River Heads, Queensland, Australia, and he saw the male pick up the female.

“It was a pretty special thing, he was just mourning the loss of his mate”Evan Switzer was quoted saying.

But Dr Derek Spielman, a senior lecturer in veterinary pathology at the University of Sydney, told Guardian Australia that  far from “mourning the loss of his mate”, the male kangaroo pictured in “heartbreaking” viral photographs with its injured female “companion” might have been responsible for her death while attempting to mate with her.He adds it is ‘gross misunderstanding’ to think kangaroo was cradling dying mate.

He further added “Competition between males to mate with females can be fierce and can end in serious fighting,” he said. “It can also cause severe harassment and even physical abuse of the target female, particularly when she is unresponsive or tries to get away from amorous male.

“Pursuit of these females by males can be persistent and very aggressive to the point where they can kill the female. That is not their intention but that unfortunately can be the result, so interpreting the male’s actions as being based on care for the welfare of the female or the joey is a gross misunderstanding, so much so that the male might have actually caused the death of the female.”

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viral photo of kangaroo mourning dea

Photo: Evan Switzer Photography

The kangaroo’s “sinister” intentions were first flagged in an explosive blog post by Dr Mark Eldridge, the principal scientist of the Australian Museum. He praised Switzer’s “great photos of the kangaroos”, but said they had been “fundamentally misinterpreted”.


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