apparently it does!
newspaper item describes the attack on a seven
year old boy in Western Australia by an adult
kangaroo buck. The boy was attacked for half
an hour before help could reach him and survived
only because he fell over out of reach of the
kangaroo’s hind legs.
buck kangaroo had been hand reared and released
into the wild.
Imprinting is surely a simple enough principle
to understand – stories about it date back to
our childhood nursery rhymes of the ugly
duckling. It is the principle that leads us
to purchase cockatoos at an age when they still
hand rearing. (These days this practice is
Imprinting of hand reared young causes zoos to
go to extraordinary lengths to educate their
you handrear a joey, it will almost certainly
come to recognise humans as one of its own
kind. The chances are that it will still
behave as a kangaroo and will associate with
others of its own kind in normal instinctive
does not mean that the kangaroo will not breed
with its own kind.
does mean, almost
inevitably, that it will regard humans as other
kangaroos and will react instinctively toward
them as it would toward other kangaroos. In
the animal world, rape and murder are normal
healthy instinctive pursuits.
If you rear a kangaroo buck, you must
have it castrated.
least if you castrate the buck while he is still
a young joey, some of his natural urges will not
applies equally whether the animal is to be kept
as a family pet or reared for release to the
wild. (Note: in S.A. it is illegal to release
hand raised fauna back to the wild without
written permission from our wildlife
Every effort should be made to minimise the
likelihood of imprinting if the animal is to be
released, and particularly if it is a species
which is to be left entire for breeding use in a
whole matter unfortunately raises issues which
we should face.
many kangaroos saved from infant death equate
with the traumatisation or even death of a seven
year old boy. Should just anyone be allowed
to raise a joey and perhaps release a time bomb
into the environment? How many of the
lovingly reared kangaroos are subsequently
released into environments where even the
hardened native has difficulty clinging to life?
Many people who keep or rear fauna accept that
with this activity goes the responsibility of
educating others. Still, it must be disturbing
for all of us that in spite of all the wildlife
books, societies and conferences, there remain
people, (even amongst our own members perhaps)
who do not take the risks seriously.
should not need to be repeated again that a male
kangaroo joey must be castrated if it is to be
hand reared, otherwise there is the grave risk
that should it be imprinted to regard humans as
fellow kangaroos, it will one day probably rape,
mutilate or kill someone!