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Kangaroos – The 100 Days Project: Day 100 [1]

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The Leaper

Photo: Graham Tidy/Getty

One of the most memorable kangaroo photographs I have seen is of an Eastern Grey, high in the air, attempting to leap, over the kangaroo-proof fence, out of the killing enclosure at the Australian Defence Force’s Majura training area in Canberra during a 2009 cull of 6000 kangaroos there. I don’t know whether this kangaroo is a male or female but am presuming the former. I call him ‘The Leaper’. Nor do I know how high he has jumped, but if the fences are anything like the customary 1.8 metres tall then, since he is clearly more than a metre above them, I imagine he would have to be at least three metres. A second version of this photograph I have seen, reproduced below, gives the impression he has jumped even higher.


To have leapt so high in so confined a space – what run-up could he have had? – seems extraordinary to me. If he were one of my tribe I’d be describing the feat as super-human. Although this amazing leap can only be an indication of the level of his terror, it fills me with a kind of inexplicable hope. It seems to attest extraordinary resources, huge will, great courage. The least we can do, in our work for kangaroos, is to try to find the same in ourselves.


Here’s that second version:

Shutting my mind to his most likely fate, I’m dreaming that he made it.



That is the 100 Days. Tomorrow, Post 101, will be thanks, acknowledgements, and some future plans.

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