The Odd Side – May 8, 2018

Carrot-Addicted Kangaroos Hopping Mad at Tourists

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Kangaroos are one of Australia’s biggest tourist draws, but visitors to one park are getting more than they bargained for.

Tourists in Lake Macquarie, a two-hour train ride from Sydney, are ignoring warnings and feeding carrots to kangaroos who become aggressive at the sight of their favorite sugary snack, a tour operator said.

Each week, thousands of people flock to see the kangaroos on grassy slopes, enticed by travel blogs promising “adorable wild kangaroos” that are “tame enough to get close to and take photos with.”

Carrots in hand, the tourists approach the kangaroos, seeking a selfie with an Australian symbol that graces the country’s coat of arms.

It doesn’t always end well.

A photo posted by a tour operator on social media showed a kangaroo leaping up to kick a tourist with its powerful legs. Other photos showed a woman with a scratched face and a man with a bloody gouge in his stomach.

“Kangaroos can occasionally be aggressive, no matter what the circumstances are; but 90 percent of the time it’s the people who are trying to feed them who are attacked,” Shane Lewis, who operates a tourist shuttle service to the park, told Reuters.

Lewis said he showed photos of injuries to tourists as a reminder of the damage that a wild animal can do.

Michelle Shaw, a nutritionist at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo, said the kangaroos had likely become addicted to the carrots, a high-sugar food that is bad for them.

“When they see people coming they get that anxiety that sugar is on its way, and they are going to be very aggressive to feed that addiction,” Shaw told Reuters.

A kangaroo’s natural diet is mostly grass, so the sugar in carrots can make it hard to effectively absorb nutrients and lead to a “slow and painful death,” she added.

Despite the attacks, politician Greg Piper said the kangaroos were likely to remain the region’s major draw for international tourists, and it was too late to do anything about it.

“The only thing we can do is educate people about the dangers and find a way to manage the situation, not just for the safety of visitors and the hospital’s residents, but also for the safety of the kangaroos,” Piper said.

Brinks Truck Drops Thousands of Dollars on Indiana Highway

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – State police say that drivers clamored to pick up cash on an interstate in Indianapolis, after the back doors of a Brinks armored truck swung open and hundreds of thousands of dollars flew out.

State police spokesman Sgt. John Perrine says investigators don’t know exactly how much cash was in the truck when its lost its load about 9 a.m. Wednesday on Interstate 70 on the city’s southwest side. Perrine says it was definitely hundreds of thousands.

Officers blocked traffic as they helped collect money from along the highway. Perrine says an undetermined amount remains unaccounted for, as some drivers stopped to scoop up cash.

Perrine says anyone who picked up the money could be charged with theft; and he urged them to contact state police to return it.