The Australian man who punched a kangaroo is coming under fire after his actions went viral.
Greig Tonkins is reportedly an elephant keeper at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales. Many have called for him to be fired in the wake of the kangaroo incident.
Emma Dallimore is a reporter with Australia’s Channel 7 News and told Inside Edition people are outraged.
"The kangaroo is a national icon, it is a symbol of Australia and the animal activists are certainly not happy at all about it. They have been talking about the fact that this man should lose his job in the zoo where he works and perhaps charges should be pressed," she said.
His buddy Greg Bloom shot the video of the Man-Kangaroo grudge match that recently went viral and says the marsupial.
“He just leapt into action to protect his dog like anyone would,” he said. “[The kangaroo] is a big fit fella, a little smack on the nose like that isn't gonna hurt him.”
Kangaroos are powerful animals. Some like the one that Tonkins punched, can be very muscular, and will defend themselves if challenged or threatened.
Zoologist Jarod Miller analyzed the encounter and told Inside Edition: “Kangaroos are territorial."
He added: "He should have grabbed his dog and backed away from the kangaroo. Most likely, the kangaroo would have just remained in place but he took the chance of engaging the kangaroo. You never want to strike a wild animal because it could agitate the animal. A kangaroo can inflict a very serious injury that could result in a fatality."
Tonkins was on a mission of mercy when he and his dog Max came face to face with that kangaroo. He and his buddies were on a hunting trip, organized to fulfill a dying wish of a teenager with terminal cancer.
Kailem Barwick, who passed away last week at the age of 19, was diagnosed with the Ewing sarcoma in 2014. He was told he beat the cancer after nearly a yearlong battle, but it returned in January 2016. Barwick married to his longtime sweetheart, Brandi-Lee, in a hospital ceremony just days before he died.
A group of hunters came together to help make his final wish come true when they discovered he was terminal earlier this year. The dogs, which were actually highly trained in hunting, had caught the scent of a pig before they got in the way of the pugnacious kangaroo.
The zookeeper will reportedly not lose his job over the incident - but he will be subject to additional training.