An Australian wildlife caretaker feeding dozens of animals was attacked Saturday by a kangaroo while she was attempting to save her husband from the 6-foot marsupial.
Linda Smith, 64, was hospitalized for a collapsed lung, broken ribs and other injuries after she and her husband, Jim, were attacked on their Cypress Gardens property in Queensland, Australia, news.com.au reported.
Smith, speaking from the hospital, told Australian media that she feeds about 30 kangaroos and wallabies every night on the couple’s 60-acre land and was going on with the daily routine Saturday when they encountered a gray kangaroo.
“We feed them [the animals] a mix of grain and chaff, as with the drought there’s nothing out there,” Smith said. “This one kangaroo came in and I thought it was Golly Gosh, one of the kangaroos we have raised. He was a huge grey, would have been at least 6 foot.”
The kangaroo, which turned out not to be Golly Gosh, began attacking Smith’s husband when he attempted to feed it.
“Jim was on the ground and the kangaroo just kept at him. I went outside to try and help him and took a broom and a piece of bread, but he knocked the broom out of my hand then attacked me,” Smith recalled. “I got him off Jim and Jim got up and I managed to grab a piece of wood to defend myself with that.”
Smith said her son came out and stopped the attack by hitting the kangaroo in the head with a shovel. The kangaroo ran off into the woods.
“I have never been one to want to hurt animals,” she added.
The couple was taken to the hospital. Jim Smith, said to be in his 60s, was treated for “significant lacerations” while their son suffered minor injuries from the attack. Linda Smith was scheduled for surgery on Sunday, news.com.au reported.
Despite the attack, Smith said she hopes the kangaroo isn’t killed.
“I am always careful, especially of the males. It’s breeding time so they can be more aggressive. I don’t want this kangaroo to be hunted down and killed, I love animals,” the longtime animal caretaker said. “I do understand what happened, but I have never seen one that aggressive — it was in there for a fight and it wouldn’t back off.”