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Following the events of the last 48 hours in which Greig Tonkins, a Zoo Keeper at Taronga Western Plains Zoo, was seen on social media punching a Kangaroo following an attempt to free his dog from its hold, Taronga has been inundated with concern for Mr Tonkins as well as enquiries regarding Taronga’s position on the events.

Best practice animal welfare and the protection of Australian wildlife are of the utmost importance to Taronga. Taronga strongly opposes the striking of animals and does not support the practice of using dogs to hunt, as this can result in negative welfare for both species. We support the Guidelines outlined by the Department of Environment and Heritage in the event of confrontation with a kangaroo.

Mr Tonkins is an experienced Zoo keeper and during his six years at Taronga Western Plains Zoo has always followed Taronga’s best practice approach to animal care and welfare.  We confirm that there is no suggestion of Mr Tonkins’ employment at Taronga Western Plains Zoo ending as a result of this event.

However, the highest standards of animal welfare and care are a core value of Taronga and one that we expect our staff to uphold in all their interactions with wildlife and we continue to work with Mr Tonkins on his conduct in regards to this incident.

Taronga ask on behalf of Mr Tonkins and his family that media respect their privacy at this time.

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