It goes without saying, but feeding wildlife can have unintended consequences.
Tourists visiting the Australian town of Morisset have learnt the hard way, as the area’s large, wild kangaroo population has been responsible for an increasing number of attacks on visitors.
The problem stems from kangaroos being fed human foods which are outside of their natural diet, causing them to be hungrier and more aggressive for it.
“There have been a number of reported incidents in which kangaroos have attacked visitors, in one case causing a very deep gash to a man’s stomach,” Greg Piper, a Port Macquarie MP, said in a statement.
“In most cases they have been kicking out, clawing faces, and grappling with people, causing lacerations or significant scratching.”
A local shuttle operator, Shane Lewis, told ABC News that he wants more people to be educated about the dangers of feeding kangaroos.
While there is ample warning signage at Morisset Hospital, where people stop off to see kangaroos, tourists lugging bags of food to feed the animals have ignored this.
“The kangaroos see at least 2,000 tourists a week and they don’t need 2,000 carrots or bananas and bread, chips and biscuits,” Lewis told the news outlet.
“I’ve even seen some silly people feeding them McDonalds, KFC, corn chips, oats and there are some foods they are very aggressive for.”
Lewis said a man who had just visited a McDonalds had his stomach “gashed open” by a kangaroo, who for some reason went at him, despite having no food in posession.
Piper said he didn’t want to stop people from seeing the kangaroos, but there should be more signage — in multiple languages — warning visitors to not feed.
“The genie is out of the bottle and it seems unlikely that this tourism can be stopped … there should be appropriate signage about not feeding the animals as well as advice that the kangaroos can cause injury,” he added.
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