A TEENAGE girl has been hailed a hero for taking on a fully grown adult male kangaroo as it attacked a young child in a South Coast caravan park.
Paige Bugden, 13, was taking her two-year-old nephew Alex Bisson for a walk around the southern Shoalhaven caravan park when he spotted the kangaroo and managed to break free.
He treated the kangaroo as he did the pets at his home and gave it a pat, but the kangaroo responded aggressively.
“The kangaroo sort of jumped on him,” Paige explained.
It knocked Alex to the ground and then grabbed him with its front legs wrapping around his head, in what Paige likened to a headlock.
Her protective instincts immediately kicked in, literally, and she delivered a fast foot to the kangaroo’s chest.
It was enough to make the roo let little Alex go, and hop away.
Meanwhile, Alex’s five-year-old sister Charlotte had run to get help, and the commotion brought others out from their caravans.
While the kick resulted in Paige damaging ligaments in her foot, it also led to her being praised for her bravery in tackling a kangaroo that was larger than her.
“She saved his life, potentially,” said Alex’s father Jamie Bisson.
“We’re quite lucky that Paige was there to deal with it, because if it had been left to an adult, who knows what would have happened,” Mr Bisson said.
“It doesn’t bear thinking about what could have happened,” added Paige’s father and Alex’s grandfather Shane Bugden.
He said the incident was a timely reminder that kangaroos were wild animals, regardless of how placid and tame they looked while lying on the grass at caravan parks or in local villages.
People regularly feeding the kangaroos potentially increased the chance of conflict with humans, said Mr Bugden from the Southern Highlands town of Colovale.
The attack left Alex, from Newcastle, shaken and upset for just a short while, but within minutes he was back to his usual adventurous self and wanting to pat other kangaroos.
However Paige was more shaken as shock took hold of her, combined with the pain of her injured foot.