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Calls For Kangaroo Puncher To Lose Job As Zookeeper Nixed

The man who punched a kangaroo in the face will keep his job as a zookeeper, despite calls for him to be sacked.

Greig Tonkins was on a trip organised for his mate Kailem Barwick, who was dying of cancer, when he ran towards a kangaroo that had his dog Max in a headlock.

Footage of the incident went viral on Sunday but the incident happened in June at a rural property in Condobolin, New South Wales.

After Tonkins raced to help his dog, the video showed him approach the kangaroo, which by this time had let the dog go, but had turned its attention to Tonkins.

In a tense moment, Tonkins raised his fists before punching the kangaroo in the face.

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Fairfax reported that some media claimed he should lose his job as a result of the incident, while PETA called for him to be prosecuted. 

"I don't see why a man has to lose his job and his livelihood because there's an uproar over a kangaroo getting punched and not even hard," said Greg Bloom, the bloke who filmed the incident, said in Tonkins’ defence.

"Why is that an instant reaction? When someone runs into a kangaroo on the road and kills it - do they lose their licence? They don't lose their licence do they?"

In a statement, Taronga Western Plains Zoo, where Tonkins has worked as an elephant keeper, said he was not in danger of losing his job.

"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," it read. 

"We confirm that there is no suggestion of Mr Tonkins' employment at Taronga Western Plains Zoo ending as a result of this event. 

"However, the highest standards of animal welfare and care are a core value of Taronga and one that we expect our staff to uphold in all their interactions with wildlife and we continue to work with Mr Tonkins on his conduct in regards to this incident.

"Taronga strongly opposes the striking of animals and does not support the practice of using dogs to hunt, as this can result in negative welfare for both species."

Sadly, Kailem Barwick passed away shortly after the trip. 

The video has been viewed more than six million times.

- with WAtoday

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