CANBERRA, Australia - The Australian Capital Territory Environment Department warned residents to beware after a woman was attacked by a kangaroo while walking her poodle in a city park last week and another woman reported a kangaroo had drowned her golden retriever in a pond and seriously injured another two dogs in an unprovoked attack.
The dogs had been swimming when a large kangaroo appeared on the bank and entered the water, according to owner Christine Canham. The kangaroo "held her under the water with its back legs and drowned her as we watched helpless," Canham wrote in a letter to the editor of the Canberra Times published last week.
Government wildlife ecologist Murray Evans said he was concerned that city residents might forget that the beloved symbol of Australia is also a wild animal that can grow as tall and heavy as a man.
"Kangaroos don't come bounding out of the bush looking for people to attack," Murray Evans said. "It's usually kangaroos minding their own business and people thinking they're cute and cuddly and getting too close."
"Because of the shortage of feed, they're more likely to stand their ground when they've found grass, particularly the big males," he said.
"It looks like boxing, but they don't actually curl their paws up and punch," Evans said. "They spar, taking swipes at each other with their (upper) paws, scratching and grappling."
He added, "They can even rest back on their tails and try to kick you and that's when you can really get some serious injuries."