Let’s Talk: Should this guy be fired for punching a kangaroo?

No doubt you’ve seen the viral video of the guy punching a kangaroo in the face after it attacked his
Source: ViralHog/YouTube

No doubt you’ve seen the viral video of the guy punching a kangaroo in the face after it attacked his dog.

Well, now the video has caused quite a debate on social media – and it seems everybody has an opinion about what should happen to the guy involved.

The man at centre of the controversy is Greig Tonkins, an elephant keeper at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in New South Wales.

He was on a pig hunting trip with a dying friend when the kangaroo attacked his dog.

Since the video went viral around the world, there’s been calls from animal activists for Tonkins to lose his job and be investigated over the incident.

A Taronga Western Plains Zoo spokesperson told the Daily Mail the zoo would take “appropriate action” against him.

“Good animal welfare and the protection of Australian wildlife are of the utmost importance to Taronga,” the spokesperson said.

“We are working with Mr Tonkins to understand the exact circumstances of the event and will consider any appropriate action.”

One of the hunters on the trip has defended Tonkins, telling the Daily Mail he only punched the kangaroo to protect his dog Max.

“The dog wanted no part of it, all it was trying to do was escape from the roo and that’s why he stepped in,” the man said.

“There’s people on social media saying, “I know men like that, I bet they killed it afterwards”, but that’s just ridiculous.

“He only threw the punch to redirect the animal and afterwards there were a few nervous and relieved laughs, and then we just went on with getting Kailem a tonner (a 100kg pig).”

The man said he was dumfounded by the way some people have reacted to the video.

“The video went viral in America and there was not one bad comment, and then it goes crazy in Australia and there’s a whole bunch of outrage,” he said.  

“It made me sick to be part of this country when people were wishing this family man and dog died, when the kangaroo wasn’t even hurt.” 

The kangaroo doesn’t appear to have been injured in the video, it simply reacts in shock and bounds away.

What do you think? Is the reaction to this video over the top?

  1. Mel  

    He did what he had to do, IN THAT CIRCUMSTANCE!

    Leave him alone, no sacking, no wasting money on an ‘Enquiry’.

    This Country’s PC’ism is beyond a joke!
    Even a Policeman has to defend his actions’ nowadays, just for doing the job for which he’s paid.
    Who’d be a cop when, even if you sneeze, is video-taped!

    There’re way too many ‘Chiefs’ who’ve huge Budgets, & want to spend money, ‘Oh! Let’s have an Enquiry to waste more taxpayers’ $$$$$$…..’

    And that goes for Local, State, & Fed., Goverments’, too!

    • Peter Lewer  

      I agree Mel they were hunting pigs, and would have had some powerful armoury on board. A punch to the snout good on him. All you bleeding hearts need to get a life.

    • [email protected]  

      Well said Mel. The guy did nothing wrong at all. Good on him for having the balls to take on a kangaroo, that could have severely injured him, to protect his dog.

    • Sharon Sires  

      City people have no idea what a kangaroo can do to a person or dog.Good on him for saving his dog from a painfull death.

    • Emilia  

      A big buck kangaroo standing 2m high, with the razor-sharp claws’ they possess, could cleave a man asunder from ‘fore to aft’, in a few seconds’.

      He did THE right thing, didn’t hurt the kangaroo, & had the ‘element of surprise’ on his side, by his quick jab!

      Good on him!

    • Robert Green  

      Exactly. These bloomin’ animal rights activists would have been pointing their stupid accusing fingers at the guy if he had walked off and let the dog die at the hands of the roo. I have seen an animal that size almost gut a man. A punch on the snout would have been less than if he were fighting another adult male.

      These activists need to get on their knees and beg humanity’s forgiveness for all of the babies they condone murdering each year.

  2. Patricia  

    Nothing wrong that kangaroo would and could have ripped that dog from head to toe . Roo wasn’t hurt, bet the guys hand hurt more and the look on the Roos face was absolutely hilarious . it has probably had a harder hit from another roo at some time . Lighten up everybody he was looking after his dog . Normally it would’ve the other way around,it was all so spontaneous and quite funny
    . 😂

    • Phillip Hands.  

      That’s so true Patricia,I have seen Roo’s jump into a dam & the dog run after them & the roo grab the dog with his front legs push the dog under the water & then with his back legs rip the dog from one end to the other in killing the dog I’ve even had them jump at me trying to swipe me with their front paw they can be very visious & I don’t think in any way the guy was trying to hurt the Roo he was just protecting his dog & trying to deter the Roo so neither one got hurt in any way any how why don’t they complain about the farmers culling the Roo’s they r allowed to cull so many a yr. on their property & I know that for a fact as I live up near Scone in the out back & this is what the farmers r allowed to do so why don’t they complain about them I think the old Farmer kill more than what this guy has done he only scared the Roo off not Killed the thing so what in the hell r they complaining about ! ( WINGGERS )

  3. C. GILLAN  

    Absolutely bloody NOT (to be sacked) He punch a kangaroo, didn’t mame it or anything and did it to rescue his dog AND defend himself. People these days are so quick to judge. I thought the video was very interesting to view, have watch a couple of times. Thought the guy was very brave to stand up to the kangaroo, besides aren’t kangaroos a pest in some areas, don’t people go out shooting them to cull them. Alot of hoo haa over nothing…….

  4. toycp  

    I wouldn’t have attempted it , in case the roo decided to tear him apart…
    BUT….get all the facts before posting on here , this happened in June of this year and the man has just passed away, due to illness…which he had at that time also…RIP

    • Ken  

      This man should only have praise heaped on him for fulfilling his friends wish & having the guts to stand up to a roo for his dogs life, bloody pc pains, grow up

  5. Rosemary O'Meagher  

    Now this arrogant blood thirsty character was in his car driving, and his dogs, pig killing bloodied dogs already excited by killing were bounding around the kangaroo. One got caught by the roo. Idiot people who could not see exactly what was happening here. The dogs were going in to attack the roo. I would definitely question this guys ability to be a keeper. One moment going out killing things seeing his dogs rip things apart. Then rocks up to act as a keeper. Anyone who has seen dogs rip things apart will know the horrendous death their victims have. Farmers have big problems with dogs ripping lambs apart etc. I do question this guys ability to carrying out his duties as a keeper with ampathy.
    Also he claims in America their was no one bad comment. But of course we know Americans love guns, we know that by all the shootings in public places that occur, such as McDonald’s, Schools, workplaces etc. This guy isn’t compassionate and who the hell was taking the video thinking it a great joke. I bet if his dogs killed the kangaroo we wouldn’t have seen it.

    • Penny Adams  

      Rosemary That is one of the most ignorant comments I have read.
      Roos (big boomers)can and do kill dogs. They were hunting wild pigs which got there because others let them go in the wild so they could hunt them. I don’t think they were American. Wild pigs can and have maimed and killed people they are very dangerous; especially in the wild ….but they are ymmy too.

      • sue mock  

        Penny I agree with you, wild pigs are a pest and need controlling. Not only do they kill our wildlife but they destroy land and habitat and spread disease.. A smack in the face to a big Roo like that is like a tickle, he was just surprised that a human had the courage to stand up to him…

    • Sue  

      Are you for real?? You obviously know nothing of a kargaroos ability to mutilitate!! This man was extremely brave!!

    • I agree with you. The Roo wasn’t even hurting the dog. He Did not need to punch the kangaroo. He let the dog go when he ran up to him, that should have been it, he should have ran the other way as soon as he let go. I Feel so bad the kangaroo was scared of all the stupid dogs about to attack him.

      • Ken Tee  

        Huh??? The roo wasn’t hurting the dog??? Where did you put your eyes?

    • Well said Rosemary.
      I bet the people didn’t notice that very large knife on Greig Tonkins hip.
      He was out there with his dogs to pull down pigs so he could run in there and stab the pig in the heart with his knife.
      Using the story that it was all for his mate who was dying of cancer, doesn’t really wash with me.
      Greig was out there to big note himself in killing pigs by stabbing them with his knife.
      For him to be an elephant keeper makes me question his ethics.
      But he has done what he has done, and now he will wear the consequences of his actions.
      Pigging is illegal in Qld, I am not sure about NSW.

      • Ken Tee  

        Do you eat chicken? Do you eat meat? How do they prepare these things if not by killing them? Don’t bring your bias and sentiment into this

  6. Penny Adams  

    Well, nothing should happen to the man. He did what he had to do. Roos can and have killed dogs and humans. They are very dangerous. The boomers often run into a lake and when the dog follows him they hold them under and they down. Or they hold them and slit their stomach open with their back claws. And they do the sam thing to people. You don’t fool around with roos. I love the opinions of thoes who know nothing.

    • Frank  

      previously in smaller videos I had only seen the roo’s arm over the top so first thought it looked not unfriendly

      but in this larger longer clearer video I can see the roo’s other arm gripping the dog’s throat underneath with paw on this side – so that could effectively be throttling the dog – and when he jumps to ‘try to gut the dog’ you can see it was a potentially fatal situation for the dog – lucky the guy walked away before the roo tried the same on him – could have gutted the man too.

      So yeah – I’ll pass this guy for rescuing his dog

      and for warm fuzzy ‘Save the Roo’ urban protectors – roos are a pest in rural Australia – there’s millions of them – Not an endangered species – in fact farmers shoot them to reduce the over-population !

  7. Lyn Robinson  

    Had this fellow not shown he was a dominant force, he may well have been next for a mauling by this very large roo. I’ve been confronted by a roo in the bush and believe me, it’s not the time to show weakness. Dogs love to chase after roos – my whippet was mauled by one and nearly died. I think, under the circumstances this fellow reacted in the most effective manner. The roo was never in any danger of being felled by the blow, it bounced away unhurt but angry. I actually think the kangaroo is a pretty animal and I really like them – however, like all animals, they can hurt us as much as we can hurt them. Leave this man alone – he took the best action he could have taken to avoid further confrontation.

  8. Bev  

    I would do anything to protect my dogs mind you I wouldn’t be taking my dogs pig hunting wild pigs are dangerous creatures,

  9. Barry Jones  

    This did not happen in the workplace so why should he lose his job. I am not condoning his actions but what a precedent that would set. That said, the young chap recently passed away from cancer I understand. So why not have a little room for compassion. It is all now in the past where it should remain.

  10. Nick  

    Although some people are fiercely protective of our wild life, which I applaud, one must face facts. The kangaroo is well equipped to gut a dog or a human for that matter. The Hunter in question could have easily shot the roo, but he didn’t. He did a very quick appreciation of the situation and reacted accordingly. I am willing to bet not too many people would be arguing if it was a three metre saltwater crocodile. Well done that man

  11. Cricky  

    He punched the roo to protect his dog.. he was off duty and not in uniform. Soo why should the media be sooo judgemental

    • Dee Edgecombe  

      He did the right thing and saved his dog….leave him alone he was only protecting his mate who would have died without intervention….the roo lived to hop away….wtf is all the fuss about?

  12. ian wright  


    • Ann O'Donnell  

      Yes, he did what he had to do to save, his dog, the roo nearly ripped the dog op0-en, I have nothing against kangaroos in fact I raised one from a few months old before she was even haired, the nearest thing to a real baby but in the end had to give her over to a wildlife park for the protection of my children as she was starting to grab the kids and lift her back feet only in play then but it could have become dangerous, she went to Symbio Gardens at Helensburgh, I still miss her.

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