Skip to main content

Australian politician injured in kangaroo attack

By Jethro Mullen, CNN
May 17, 2013 -- Updated 0715 GMT (1515 HKT)
Eastern Grey Kangaroos are a common sight in the suburbs of Canberra, Australia's capital.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos are a common sight in the suburbs of Canberra, Australia's capital.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Shane Rattenbury was jogging in a suburb of Canberra when he ran into the animal
  • "I didn't see the kangaroo, and it didn't see me," he says
  • He had to seek medical attention for gashes to his left leg
  • Kangaroos are common in the area and don't usually threaten humans

(CNN) -- An Australian politician suffered gashes to one of his legs when a close encounter with a kangaroo during his morning jog turned violent.

Shane Rattenbury, a minister for the local government that manages the territory around the Australian capital, Canberra, said he bumped into the animal early Thursday as he was running along the side of a hedge in a suburban neighborhood.

"I didn't see the kangaroo, and it didn't see me," he said by phone on Friday. "It started hopping around, it was a bit panicked. I ducked for cover and ended up on the ground. The kangaroo jumped on me in its attempt to get away."

The claws on its powerful hind legs dug into the back of Rattenbury's left leg.

Shan Rattenbury\'s injured leg
Shan Rattenbury's injured leg

It then bounded away in the direction of a nearby nature reserve, leaving Rattenbury lying dazed in the street with deep cuts in his leg.

"Like most animals, when frightened, they'll lash out quite hard," he said.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos, the species he encountered, are common in the suburbs of Canberra, especially at this time of year when the dry weather brings them searching for grass and water on people's lawns.

"I see kangaroos here all the time when I'm running," Rattenbury said. "But I've never actually crashed into one before."

He said that after the skirmish, he hitched a ride home and then went and got his wounds cleaned and bandaged at a walk-in medical center. A nurse also gave him a tetanus shot.

His injuries didn't stop him from going on to attend a sitting of the local assembly, where some colleagues couldn't resist humoring him about his experience.

A run in with a 'roo has left the municipal services minister ruing his choice of route for a morning jog.
ABC anchor

"There have certainly been a lot of kangaroo jokes and kangaroo puns in the parliament," he said.

Australian media outlets also saw an opportunity for word play.

"A run in with a 'roo has left the municipal services minister ruing his choice of route for a morning jog," an anchor on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation said as she introduced Rattenbury's story.

Although kangaroos don't usually pose a threat to humans, authorities in the Canberra area have undertaken annual culls to control the animals' numbers for environmental reasons. Rattenbury's political party, the Greens, doesn't oppose the policy.

"The cull has been very controversial," he said. "It's undertaken on the basis of science that indicates there is an overabundance of these kangaroos in the region."

The Greens "continue to monitor that science and look at whether this cull has delivered the desired impacts," he added.

On Rattenbury's Facebook page, one person sought to draw a link between the program and the minister's unfortunate experience.

"Perhaps the kangaroos are trying to tell you something about the culling program," wrote a user named Rick Collins.

It is estimated that there are around 50 million kangaroos in Australia, according to the national government.

Rattenbury says his alarming experience hasn't deterred him from continuing to run in the same neighborhood as he trains for triathlons in the coming months.

"I hope to be back out there tomorrow," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 21, 2014 -- Updated 1746 GMT (0146 HKT)
The tragic killing of two cops could not have happened at a worse time for a city embroiled in a bitter public battle over police-community relations, Errol Louis says.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 1327 GMT (2127 HKT)
North Korea warns the United States that U.S. "citadels" will be attacked, dwarfing the hacking attack on Sony that led to the cancellation of a comedy film's release.
December 22, 2014 -- Updated 0251 GMT (1051 HKT)
The gateway to Japan's capital, Tokyo Station, is celebrating its centennial this month -- and it's never looked better.
December 20, 2014 -- Updated 1621 GMT (0021 HKT)
More than 1.7 million children in conflict-torn areas of eastern Ukraine face an "extremely serious" situation, Unicef has warned.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1322 GMT (2122 HKT)
Boko Haram's latest abductions may meet a weary global reaction, Nigerian journalist Tolu Ogunlesi says.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
Drops, smudges, pools of blood are everywhere -- but in the computer room CNN's Nic Robertson reels from the true horror of the Peshawar school attack.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1431 GMT (2231 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT