(NEW SOUTH WALES, Australia) — A seven-year-old girl suffered cuts and bruises on her face, arms and back after she was attacked by a kangaroo while playing near a picnic area in New South Wales, Australia.
Makayla McEvoy was playing near a group of kangaroos when one charged at her, pinned her to the ground and began to kick her.
Her stepfather, Mitch McGovern, ran to save her from the attack.
“I ran down, it was on top of Makayla and just kicked the kangaroo,” he told the Central Western Daily.
McGovern added that after he kicked the animal, it then attacked him.
“It just grunted at me and wouldn’t get off me,” he said.
Makayla was rushed to the hospital where her wounds were treated. She was released from the hospital but has cuts and scratches on her face, back and arms.
The animal that attacked Makayla was an Eastern gray kangaroo.
Overpopulation of large species kangaroos, such as Eastern grays, is a problem in Australia. This, along with urban development, has created situations in which kangaroos live in close proximity to humans.
“In my experience, they just want to be left alone,” said Adele Dodge, head keeper of the Australian Islands region at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium in Columbus, Ohio. “They are fight-or-flight animals. If given the opportunity, they will flee. But if they feel threatened or cornered, it’s certainly within their capabilities to fight back.”
The average male Eastern gray kangaroo can grow up to weigh 145 pounds and stand more than 6 1/2 feet tall. Females are typically smaller, and weigh around 70 pounds.
Despite Makayla’s traumatic experience, she still plans to pursue her dream of becoming a veterinary surgeon. “I love animals,” she said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Barbie Latza Nadeau, Tim Hume and Vasco Cotovio, CNN
Chris Williams and Jason Hanna, CNN