The heartbreaking story behind the video of a man punching a kangaroo


There’s a sad tale behind the viral video of a man punching a kangaroo.

It all started with a planned hunt to help fulfil the last wishes of Kailem Barwick, a 19-year-old terminal cancer patient.

All he wanted to do was catch a feral pig before his health deteriorated.

In June this year,a group of men led by Mathew Amor gathered at his property at Condobolin, New South Wales, to take Kailem on the promised hunt.

And this is how the big kangaroo's unusual intervention captured the limelight.

Among the group was Greig Tonkins, who’s described as laid-back guy by his friends.

Tonkins, who works at Taronga Western Plains zoo in Dubbo, took his dogs along on the hunt.

The dogs, including one named Max, have apparently been trained to avoid kangaroos and only react to the smell of feral pigs.

The now-infamous moment happened when a huge kangaroo got him in a headlock – almost like a dirty rugby player who’s made a high tackle and refuses to let go.

Even when Tonkins rushes in to come to Max’s rescue, the kangaroo gives him the slip, while Max remains firmly trapped in its powerful front paws.

When he finally releases Max, the kangaroo straightens up in front of Tonkins as if to confront him.

Then Tonkins responds  – by landing a mighty right hook in the kangaroo's face.

The kangaroo seems stunned momentarily but doesn’t back off immediately. It stands still and seems to be giving Tonkins a disgusted look before turning around and bounding off.

Watch the video that’s had the world buzzing in recent days:

Kailem, the youngster the hunt revolved around, had a rare type of bone cancer.  He was a cheerful lad who loved hunting. But he loved his pretty girlfriend, Brandi-Lee Wadwell, even more.

His grandmother, Helen Rushton, says Kailam possessed extraordinary strength. And that he clung to life for as long as he could after the hunt.

On 1 December he lost the battle, but it was not before he’d married the love of his life, Brandi-Lee, in an emotional ceremony on 27 November.

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