Kangaroos don’t want to be in your selfies. These furry animals are an iconic image of Australia forever ingrained in the minds of tourists, but like most wildlife, shouldn’t be lured in for photos. And yet, many people are attempting to snap a pic with these kangaroos anyway, with seriously dangerous consequences.
Morisset Hospital, a mental health facility in Lake Macquarie, New South Wales, has become a hotspot for tourists hoping to get a photo with a kangaroo, since they abound on the grounds.
Many bring edible items like carrots, cereal, and fast food in hopes of luring them closer, and the kangaroos are starting to take the constant abundance of snacks for granted. Some have become aggressive with tourists, with reports of one having his stomach gashed in and others with severely scraped arms, backs, and legs.
According to local politician Greg Piper, the kangaroos around the hospital have become addicted to the food given to them by tourists and are beginning to show the violent and aggressive behaviors. Daily trains and bus tours from Sydney have begun taking visitors to the area, putting an increasing number of people into the kangaroo’s habitat. The situation has become a large enough issue that his office issued a statement on the matter.
“The kangaroos have become so desensitised to human contact that they will freely approach human visitors to obtain food, which leads to many of the kangaroos becoming aggressive,” Piper said in the statement. While the area understands that seeing the kangaroos is an important part of the vacation for many tourists, they advise all visitors to stop giving food to the animals.
The next time you’re in the land down under, think twice about getting closer to wildlife than necessary. Consider using the zoom option on your camera and stepping back a few feet — you might not have a photo of yourself smiling next to the marsupial, but snagging an Instagram post isn’t worth being part of the problem.