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.
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.
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.”
Photo: Evan Switzer Photography