Animal rights group PETA have condemned the man's actions saying he should face prosecution
A zookeeper who punched a Kangaroo in the face while on a hunting trip will not lose his job following calls from animal activist groups for him to be sacked.
A video of Australian, Greig Tonkins striking a “big buck” kangaroo has racked up over 7 million views online.
Mr Tonkins approached the kangaroo after it appeared to put his dog in a headlock.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, New South Wales has said there is “no suggestion” Mr Tonkins position as an elephant keeper would be terminated as a result of the video.
“Whilst Taronga does not condone the striking of animals under any circumstances, we would like to thank everyone for their support of Mr Tonkins and confirm that there is no intention that he will lose his job over this matter,” the zoo said in a Facebook post.
“Mr Tonkins is a passionate Zoo Keeper and has been a valued member of Taronga's team for over six years and we continue to counsel him as this event and the subsequent media attention unfolds.”
The video shows Mr Tonkins jumping from a white van and approaching a kangaroo that was holding his dog by the chest and neck.
After the dog broke away from the kangaroo’s clutches, Mr Tonkins threw a right hook that appeared to leave the kangaroo stunned.
Animal rights group PETA have condemned Mr Tonkins actions saying he should face prosecution.
"Punching a kangaroo in the face is neither brave nor funny, it's illegal, as is harassing native wildlife with dogs,'' PETA's campaign coordinator Claire Fryer told Australian media.
"Allowing a pack of hunting dogs to run uncontrolled through a group of native animals is highly irresponsible and also goes against all advice from authorities.
"As the kangaroo was punched after the dog was already well clear of his grasp, this was a totally unnecessary act.''
Videographer, Greg Bloom who filmed the footage said Mr Tonkins felt no malice towards the kangaroo but, “had to step in and fix a bad situation before it got worse.”
“A kangaroo kick to the guts could disembowel the owner easily, so he backs off a couple of times giving the kangaroo some space but he eventually changes the roo's mind with a punch to the snout, as it kept coming forward,” he said on YouTube.
Mathew Amor - who organised the hunting trip in June when the footage was filmed - said the trip was organised for a friend, Kailem Barwick who has since passed away from cancer.
“Basically Kailem wanted to catch a boar … so a few of us got together to take him out, and another mate filmed more than an hour of video to put together as a DVD for Kailem and his family of the trip,” he told news.com.au.
“Kailem would be looking down from up there and laughing because it was the highlight of the trip.”
Mr Barwick lost his battle with the illness on December 2nd, just days after marrying his girlfriend.