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Rogue kangaroo stalks young mother, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia - 29 May 2012
Newspix via Rex USA
Two days before the attack Kirrily McWilliams was in the backyard of her property when she was confronted by the growling female eastern gray kangaroo. The next day she was in the backyard with her dog when the same kangaroo got through the fence and grabbed the dog.
TODAY contributor
updated 5/31/2012 8:45:34 AM ET 2012-05-31T12:45:34

An Australian woman said she was stalked by a kangaroo for two days before eventually having a vicious confrontation with the animal.

Kirrily McWilliams of Port Macquarie in New South Wales, Australia repeatedly called the National Parks and Wildlife Service in the days leading up to the attack but received no response, according to a report in The (Sydney) Daily Telegraph. She said a growling female eastern gray kangaroo broke through a fence and attacked her dog, a mastiff, in the backyard of her home, and a day later the same kangaroo came after her.

McWilliams was picking her daughter up from the school bus when the kangaroo charged her in her driveway. The kangaroo pounded and scratched her and left a 12-inch gash on her back after she curled up into a ball on the ground with nothing to hide behind, according to The Daily Telegraph.

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"It was lucky it was cool weather and I had two layers of clothing, otherwise it could have been worse," she told the paper.

The kangaroo later confronted McWilliams’ husband in the backyard while she was at the hospital, and he warded off an attack with a shovel. The couple again contacted National Parks and Wildlife Service but said they did not hear back until a day later, when the organization allowed a temporary permit for a shooter to kill the animal. By that time, it had moved on and attacked someone else.

Story: 12 harrowing tales of wild animal attacks

"I'm for protecting kangaroos but there seems to be nothing in place to help people," McWilliams told the paper. "I had to be injured before they did anything. I have three children and it could have been one of them."

Rogue kangaroo stalks young mother, Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia - 29 May 2012
Newspix via Rex USA
McWilliams shows the shirt that was torn up during the kangaroo attack. Luckily, she was wearing layers.

This was not the first attack by a kangaroo in the New South Wales area. One scratched and bloodied a 2-year-old boy in 2011, and in January 2012, a 7-year-old girl was cut and bruised on her face, back and arms when a kangaroo attacked during a family picnic.

"Kangaroos do attack people quite regularly if they're annoyed or too domesticated," Jenny Stokes, a spokeswoman for the National Parks and Wildlife Service, told TODAY.com. "Kangaroos are wild animals of substantial size and power that react instinctively, and this most recent incident highlights the need for people to be aware of kangaroos and their nature at all times."

Stokes noted that permits to shoot and kill kangaroos are issued "only as a last resort if an animal has exhibited aggressive behavior." She said the incidents involving McWilliams and her family ultimately led to the death of two aggressive kangaroos.

Video: When exotic pets attack: Deadly animal encounters

The New South Wales Department of Environment and Heritage has issued guidelines to help people avoid confrontations with eastern gray kangaroos. They include not walking directly toward the animals, not going near kangaroos that are growling or clucking, not moving between a female and her offspring, and not allowing a pet dog near a kangaroo, which could provoke a fight.

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Photos: Animal Tracks: May 23 - 30

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  3. Only dogs allowed

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  4. Score!

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  7. What a hoot!

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  9. Playful cub

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Explainer: Wild animals gone wild

  • Image: Travis the chimpanzee

    On Feb. 16, 2009, a loveable chimpanzee named Travis — who had starred in Old Navy commercials — went on a brutal rampage and ripped a Connecticut woman's face off. Such stories of wild animals attacking humans aren't terribly uncommon, though — and in many cases, the animals involved in these incidents end up being put to death. Here are 12 cases of humans befriending wild animals, with wildly alarming consequences.

  • Trampled to death by pet buffalo

    Image: Buffalo that tramped Tennessee man

    Carl Wiser loved buffalo. He raised them for years on his Tennessee farm. At the peak he had a herd of about 60 buffalo, but by August 2010 the 64-year-old had just four left — and he was planning to get rid of them.

    On Aug. 9, something went horribly awry. Wiser was talking on the phone when he noticed one of his buffalo chasing his horses. When he tried to separate the animals, the buffalo attacked him. His wife heard him screaming and calling her name. She found him semi-conscious with the buffalo standing over him. He later died at the hospital.

    Related video: Man trampled to death by pet buffalo

  • Mauled by a chimp

    Image: Sandra Herold with pet chimpanzee Travis
    Today show
    Sandra Herold with pet chimpanzee Travis.
    On Feb. 16, 2009, Sandra Herold's pet chimpanzee Travis brutally attacked Charla Nash, a woman he knew well. The 200-pound, 14-year-old chimp had been acting "rambunctious" that day, so Herold had given him a dose of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax. As he relentlessly mauled her friend, Herold stabbed him with a chef's knife. Police ultimately shot the animal, and he died in his room in Herold's home in Stamford, Conn. About 15 months after her pet chimp attacked, Herold died alone and friendless of an aortic aneurysm in her Connecticut home at age 72.

    Related story: Chimp attack victim reveals face on Oprah

    Related story: Nash 'sad,' not angry, at chimp owner's death

  • Body slammed by an orca

    Image: Orca attacking trainer in 2004

    As SeaWorld San Antonio visitors watched in horror, a performing orca whale repeatedly slammed trainer Steve Aibel under water, nearly crushing him. Aibel, who escaped the 2004 incident without serious injuries, chalked up the whale's aggressive behavior to adolescent hormones.

    More recently, on Feb. 24, 2010, a 30-year-old male orca named Tillikum killed a trainer at the SeaWorld in Orlando, Fla. The 12,300-pound whale pulled the female trainer into the water while she was talking to visitors and began thrashing her around. The same orca had been tied to two earlier deaths in 1991 and 1999.

    Archive video: See the San Antonio whale attack

    Related story: Orca pulls Orlando trainer to her death

  • Snaking suspicion

    Las Vegas parents Melissa and Anthony Melendrez were arrested on Feb. 10, 2009 on charges of felony child abuse and felony child neglect after their pet python Eve attacked their 3-year-old son. The 18-foot snake bit the boy and coiled around him, squeezing him until he was unconscious. At the moment when the mother saw what was happening, only the boy's feet were visible.

  • A birthday beating

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    St. James and LaDonna Davis of West Covina, Calif., were attacked by two adolescent chimpanzees during a visit to a wildlife refuge in 2005. The Davises went to the refuge to visit Moe, a chimp they had raised as a human until he began showing aggressive behavior in 1999. As they fed Moe birthday cake, two other chimps savagely mauled St. James Davis and bit his wife on the hand.

    Video: Survivors on chimp attack

  • Taken down by a tiger

    Image: Antoine Yates
    Shawn Baldwin  /  AP file

    In what was described at the time as an "only-in-New-York" story, workers from the Bronx Zoo had to extricate a Bengal tiger named Ming from a Harlem apartment in 2003. The tiger, who shared the apartment with tenant Antoine Yates and a crocodile-like reptile called a caiman, had to be sedated and taken down in the apartment building's elevator. Yates, who received bites on his arm and leg, was eventually charged with reckless endangerment. Ming wound up at an animal refuge in Ohio.

  • Poisoned by a pet

    Michael Peterman, a 48-year-old firefighter from Dayton, Ohio, who loved to collect snakes and lizards, died in 2003 after he was bitten by his poisonous pet, an African rhino viper. An anti-venom arrived at the Cincinnati airport mere minutes before Peterman died at a nearby hospital.

  • Eaten by a grizzly

    Image: Timothy Treadwell
    Timothy Treadwell  /  Lions Gate Films via AP file

    Timothy Treadwell, whose story was captured in the 2005 movie "Grizzly Man," spent 13 summers with bears in Alaska's Katmai National Park and Preserve. Despite multiple warnings that his close interactions with the bears were unsafe, he came to think that the bears trusted him. He and his girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, were killed and partially eaten by a bear in 2003.

  • Barbed through the heart

    Image: Steve Irwin
    Justin Sullivan  /  Getty Images file

    Famed "Crocodile Hunter" and environmentalist Steve Irwin knew what he was doing around wild animals — but that didn't prevent his untimely death. Irwin died in 2006 when his heart was pierced by a stingray barb while he was filming a TV show on Australia's Great Barrier Reef.

  • Attacked by a tiger

    Image: Joan Byron-Marasek and man with young tigers
    Daniel Hulshizer  /  AP file

    Joan Byron-Marasek quietly ran a tiger preserve in Jackson Township, N.J., until 1999, when a Bengal tiger that apparently escaped her property was shot and killed by police. As pressure mounted for Byron-Marasek to close the preserve, a tiger mauled her husband, Jan Marasek, in 2002. State officials shut the tiger compound down in 2003.

  • Bitten by a white tiger

    Image: Siegfried and Roy with white tiger
    Getty Images  /  Getty Images

    Siegfried and Roy's close encounters with big cats dazzled Las Vegas crowds for more than 30 years until things went horribly awry on Oct. 3, 2003. While performing at The Mirage, a 7-year-old male tiger named Montecore bit Roy on the neck, inflicting critical injuries. The question of whether the tiger actually attacked Roy remains in dispute. Siegfried has said that the tiger merely tried to drag Roy to safety after Roy fell on stage. On his way to the hospital, Roy reportedly said, "Don't shoot the cat." (They didn't.) In February 2009, the team staged a brief and haunting final performance for charity with the infamous Bengal tiger.

  • Hugged by a lion

    Image: Anthony "Ace" Bourke, John Rendall and Christian the lion
    John Rendall

    OK, so nothing bad happened in the moving tale of Christian the "hugging lion," who achieved YouTube fame in 2008 when a recording surfaced that showed his happy reunion in Africa in 1972 with his human friends, Anthony "Ace" Bourke and John Rendall. But ... dang!

    See images and video related to this story here.


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