RIP: A 'roo in mourning

(Evan Switzer)
(Evan Switzer)

What could have been the most heart-wrenching animal story is not actually the case, a senior veterinary lecturer says.

A male kangaroo grasping on to the dying mother of a joey in Australia was captured by a man out for his walk on Monday afternoon (local time).

The man told Australian media he couldn't believe his eyes when he saw the male kangaroo clutching the female's head.

"The kangaroo tried to lift her up and she wouldn't stand, she'd just fall to the ground. He'd nudge her, stand beside her ... it was a pretty special thing. He was just mourning the loss of his mate."

But veterinary pathology senior lecturer at University of Sydney Dr Derek Speilman told The Guardian it is a "gross misunderstanding".

He said he had no doubt the male was in fact attempting to mate the female kangaroo, and could possibly have even caused her death.

(Evan Switzer)

The photographer raced home to grab his camera after initially spotting the apparently mourning 'roo and came back to find them still there.

He said a joey was nearby and was softly touching its mother before standing upright by her side in a protective stance.

The male kangaroo was also upright by her side, which Dr Speilman said was actually the kangaroo guarding her from others.

He noted that eastern grey Kangaroos can breed all year round and this was the case in these photographs.

(Evan Switzer)

The man's photos have made international headlines.

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