Recently, an Australian zookeeper became a viral Internet hero when he punched an aggressive kangaroo in the face, in a scene straight out of Rocky. Though it was a clear case of self-defense (the rampaging 'roo had his dog in a headlock and was poised to attack the zookeeper next), PETA activists cried animal cruelty and demanded that Greig Tonkins, the guy in the video, be fired from his job.
Thankfully, the zoo at which Tonkins works has issued a statement assuring his gig is in not in jeopardy: "Mr Tonkins is an experienced zookeeper and during his six years at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has always followed Taronga's best practice approach to animal care and welfare. We continue to work with Mr Tonkins on his conduct in regards to this incident."
But PETA fired back that Tonkins deserved to be bounced out of his gig faster than a kangaroo bounding through the bush.
"It is very disturbing of someone of this character has a position there they would have no trouble filling it with someone who respects animals," PETA director Verna Simpson told The Guardian.
Whatever the blowback from animal rights activists, Tonkins is lucky to have escaped serious injury as kangaroos, despite their cuddly reputations, are some of the fiercest mammals ever to roam the Outback.
Case in point: just watch two of these beasts spar for dominance in a BBC Earth video: