Anyone planning a trip to Australia must have had a kangaroo or two hop across their thoughts. There are few images that evoke the distant, island continent more than that of a kangaroo, bouncing along, perhaps a baby kangaroo, otherwise known as a joey, peeking out from its mother’s pouch. The wild, untamed nature of this famous marsupial, however, seems to have been obscured by the creature’s seemingly camera-ready, cuddliness.
Tourists to the New South Wales central coast are learning this lesson the hard way. A population of the kangaroos, living in the bushland around Morisset Hospital, are receiving visitors numbering in the thousands, each week. Despite posted signs warning against feeding the animals, tourists are leaving them all manner of processed and fast foods. The sugar in those foods, much as it does in humans, provides the animals with addicting boosts of dopamine, leading to cycles of aggression and addiction.
A few unlucky tourists have been at the receiving end of a kangaroo kick or two, the result of the animal’s desire for more dopamine. The damages include gashes to the faces, arms, and torsos of unsuspecting visitors. You don’t need food on you either, to arouse the interest of the animals, even just the lingering scent of an earlier meal can bring them near.
Local MP, Greg Piper has posted a useful video to Facebook, warning about the issue.
So, if you’re planning a visit, remember that carbs are bad for us all.