'Mourning' kangaroo photo raises questions
Evan Switzer's photos of a male kangaroo 'grieving' his dead mate have gone viral, but an Australia Museum research scientist says the kangaroo was trying to mate.PT0M43S 620 349
When photographs circulated this morning of a kangaroo apparently 'cradling' his dying mate 'in mourning' for her, something didn't feel quite right. There wasn't enough detail about how the female died. No wildlife expert's opinion about kangaroo behaviour. Just a photographer describing the scene he stumbled across. And the internet's unquenchable thirst for stories and pictures about animals that stir dem feelz.
But any cynicism about the circumstances of this outpouring of kangaroo 'sadness' could not compete with the reality check a wildlife researcher ended up giving.
Australian Museum mammalogist Mark Eldridge delivered the blow that the images had been "fundamentally misinterpreted", noting that the male was clearly agitated from the heat but also sexually aroused.
Evan Switzer captured these scene near Hervey Bay on Monday. Photo: Evan Switzer
"The kangaroo is not, unfortunately, 'propp[ing] up her head so she could see her joey before she died," he said.
"This is a male trying to get a female to stand up so he can mate with her."
Cue a collective scream-face-emoji.
"Aww that kangaroo is greiving for his lost mate" "Nah, she is passed out, maybe dead and he wants a root" #straya— Sophie Benjamin (@sophbenj) January 14, 2016
This feels like the end of *something* but my spirit is so deadened I cannot place it pic.twitter.com/ejizvlf7gr— j.r. hennessy (@jrhennessy) January 14, 2016
"Aw shit, he caught me" pic.twitter.com/3NI2ratJDp— Osman Faruqi (@oz_f) January 14, 2016
"hey u up" pic.twitter.com/OKHtj9piEU— Alex McKinnon (@mckinnon_a) January 14, 2016
Another kangaroo in mourning pic.twitter.com/DgKRZbuLZM— Mark Di Stefano (@MarkDiStef) January 14, 2016
So sad. A tiny joey pauses to imagine a free Europe, undivided by racial tension and political ideology. pic.twitter.com/uB4luBHue3— Adam Liaw (@adamliaw) January 14, 2016