A video uploaded to Facebook on Saturday (Dec 3) appears to show a man punching a kangaroo in its face after coming across the marsupial attacking a dog.
The video posted on Steven Stubenrauch's Facebook has been viewed more than 4 million times as of Monday (Dec 5). Stubenrauch said in the post that the video was sent by his buddy from Australia.
The video shows the man running up to the canine-kangaroo pair, where the kangaroo had the dog in a headlock. A narrator in the video said: "Well, we're not sure what's going on here but the roo has the dog, not the other way around."
When the kangaroo spotted the man running towards it, the wriggling dog took the chance to break free. The man's punch sent the kangaroo recoiling backwards. The kangaroo then appears to stand motionless before eventually hopping away.
According to Daily Mail Australia, the man in the video is Mr Greig Tonkins, 34, an elephant keeper at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales. The dog caught in the headlock is his pet dog Max.
The video was taken while he was out hunting wild boars with some friends in June. They were trying to help their sick friend Mr Kailem Barwick catch a wild boar that weighs over 100kg. Mr Barwick passed away last week, and his funeral will be held on Thursday (Dec 8).
A Taronga Western Plains Zoo spokesperson confirmed with Daily Mail Australia that Mr Tonkins is an employee, and that the zoo is working with him to "understand the exact circumstances of the event and will consider any appropriate action".
The Huffington Post quoted Queensland's Department of Environment and Heritage Protection as saying that anyone who has been attacked by a kangaroo should roll themselves into a ball on the ground and cover their neck.
Because the animals are known to attack by kicking and scratching, the department advises finding a stick, branch or tree to use as protection.
"Turning your back on it and running could be dangerous as a large male can easily outrun you and still kick at the same time," the department says. "Turn side-on and protect the front of your body with your arms and keep your head as far away from the animal as possible to minimise the risk of being scratched on the face."