Zookeeper who punched kangaroo gets death threats

THE zookeeper who punched a kangaroo has reportedly had threats made against his life by animal rights activists.

Greig Tonkins, from Dubbo in New South Wales, has been 'holed up in his house fearing for his life' after the threats, according to the Daily Mail.

Mr Tonkins made headlines around the world after a video of him standing up to a kangaroo which had attacked his dog went viral.

The normally quiet father of two punched the kangaroo in the head.

It sparked reactions ranging from him being an Aussie hero to calls by animal rights organisation PETA for him to be prosecuted.

The Daily Mail reported Mr Tonkins was forced to call police to his property on Wednesday morning after fearing animal rights activists were outside his home

The 34-year-old elephant keeper at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been trying to stay out of the limelight at his rural home.

The image of Greig Tonkins punching a kangaroo has gone around the world.
The image of Greig Tonkins punching a kangaroo has gone around the world.

PETA (People for Ethical Treatment of Animals) described Mr Tonkins' act as 'neither funny nor brave' and 'illegal', despite being informed that it was during a trip to help a teenager who has since died from cancer.

Kailem Barwick wanted to catch a wild boar that weighs more than 100 kilograms.

PETA was slammed on social media for the call for the zookeeper to be prosecuted, while the zoo where Mr Tonkins works rejected calls for him to be sacked.

"Mr Tonkins is an experienced zookeeper and during his six years at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has always followed Taronga's best practice approach to animal care and welfare," said a zoo spokesperson.

"We continue to work with Mr Tonkins on his conduct in regards to this incident."

Meanwhile, Kailem will be farewelled at a funeral on Thursday.

A GoFundMe page had been set up for Kailem with $15,000 raised towards the $20,000 goal.

His battle with cancer started in December 2014, when he suffered a sharp pain in his right shoulder.

Kailem was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma, a rare bone cancer which effects mainly children and adolescents.

The cancer returned in January 2016 and he died on December 1, after marrying his fiancée Brandi on November 16.

Friends of Kailem have called for donations to be made to fight the disease.

"Unfortunately Ewing Sarcoma only receives 1.4% of cancer research funding, due to it being a "rare" form of cancer,'' his page says.

"Please continue to donate money to Ewing Sarcoma research so that more adolescents and children don't have to go through the pain and the battle like Kailem did.

"We lost Kailem, and we don't want any other family having to go through the loss of a loved one; simply because this form of cancer isn't 'popular' enough to get enough funding for research.

If you can spare it, please donate as little or as much as you can in help to find a cure: