Col Thrupp Boxing Kangaroo
When you’re a Totally Wild presenter you’re expected to make friends with all of the animals you meet on a shoot – be they hungry crocodiles or rascally lemurs or cuddly koalas – but just because you like them doesn’t mean they’re going to like you.
The day started off quite pleasantly – we were shooting a story on ‘Animal Romance’ at the Gorge Wildlife Park in South Australia. Kerry, one of the awesome keepers, took us all down to the kangaroos to do a bit of feeding and teach me a thing or two about love in the animal world.
Once the camera was rolling, more and more kangaroos started showing an interest in the bucket of food Kerry had brought down with her. ‘This is great,’ I thought ‘these kangaroos love us – we’ll finish this story in no time!’ Ha! Little did I know that the love was about to run out…
There was a young male albino kangaroo in the mob called ‘One Eye’ – obviously because he only had one eye. Anyway, he decided that he wasn’t getting enough attention and therefore missing out on quite a bit of food. Sooooo, in he comes, pushing all of the other roos out of the way and stepping on quite a few tails.
Now, I wasn’t overly impressed with this – firstly because he had ruined a great shot and secondly because he had pushed to the front of the line without waiting his turn. Very very rude!!! Naturally I wasn’t going to offer him any food – I’m a fan of kangaroos with manners, not kangaroos with attitude!
In his disgust he started pushing me until I slipped backwards off the log I was sitting on. I got up, brushed myself down and laughed it off – but he obviously didn’t think it wasn't a laughing matter and came at me again, this time with more speed and fire in his eye.
So here I am being chased around the park by a one eyed albino kangaroo who is desperately trying to land a few blows. In the wild young males will ‘box’ each other in an attempt to assert dominance over the group. This ‘boxing’ is just a way to put their opponent off balance and if it escalates they will use their tail to support their weight and start kicking – not something I wanted to be apart of!
After about ten minutes Kerry finally came to my rescue and sent ‘One Eye’ to the naughty corner (a separate enclosure away from the group). I don’t know what’s more embarrassing – being knocked off my feet by a one eye albino kangaroo or being rescued by a girl!
Hopefully the gibbons I’m shooting with next week are a bit friendlier; otherwise I’m going to need Kerry as back-up!!!
Stay Wild!!! Col
Special thanks to Chris (sound guy) for his creative input with the photos!