Melbourne: Kangaroo Alert! An Australian politician was on Thursday clawed by a kangaroo while jogging as they came face-to-face in a startling encounter.
Australian Capital Territory (ACT) Municipal Services Minister Shane Rattenbury escaped with some gashes on one leg and bruising on the other after being attacked by the kangaroo on his morning run.
Rattenbury, a Greens MLA who sits in the ACT Labor cabinet, said he inadvertently startled a small female kangaroo during his morning run through the inner-northern suburb of Ainslie.
"I was running up the footpath and the kangaroo was just behind a hedge eating some grass or doing something," Rattenbury said.
"I startled it, it turned, I got startled too as they do when they get frightened. They just lash out a little bit," he said.
"I ducked and it landed on me," he added.
The kangaroo made a quick escape and a nearby pedestrian rushed to Rattenbury`s assistance. Another good samaritan drove the minister home, The Canberra Times reported.
"I tried not to get blood in his car," Rattenbury said.
He said staff at the Canberra Hospital`s nurse-led walk-in centre cleaned the wounds and gave him a tetanus shot, allowing him to arrive on time for a parliamentary sitting day, albeit with a limp.
Kangaroos are among Australia`s best-loved native species, and a kangaroo and an emu feature on the coat of arms. But the marsupials are so numerous around Canberra that the ACT government runs a culling programme that has divided the public.
Rattenbury said he accepted the scientific evidence that kangaroo numbers must be controlled around the city.
"Without a predator, kangaroos have increased their abundance and have a detrimental impact on the rest of the ecosystem. The Greens have not opposed that cull," he said.
"I really enjoy seeing kangaroos, and we`re very lucky in Canberra to have them as part of our neighbourhoods, but I usually prefer to keep them at a bit more of a distance than this," he said.