Kangaroo attack has Jessica shaken up
By LEE McDOUGALL
JESSICA O'Loughlan is thinking about alternative ways to keep fit.
The pretty 15-year-old teenager runs each afternoon around the Avocado Heights Estate where she lives with her mum, Gayle, dad, John, and younger sister, Tahlia.
Yet Thursday afternoon, the unimaginable happened. While running through the paddock at the rear of her home, she was viciously and repeatedly attacked by a large, male kangaroo.
"I've come across the kangaroos before but they have always hopped off," Jessica said.
"When I came across them (on Thursday) I stopped and waited for them to hop off. About 80 per cent of them hopped away and then the big male just started coming at me."
Remembering the advice of her father ? that kangaroos will rear up on their tails and strike forward ? Jessica turned her back to protect her stomach and ran.
However, the kangaroo quickly over-took her, knocked her to the ground and attacked her.
She sustained four gashes to her back, one under her left arm, three to her legs and a deep gash to her buttock before neighbour John Howard came to her rescue.
Mr Howard saw the attack and ran to Jessica's aid, kicking the kangaroo off her. It then 'danced' around Mr Howard trying to get at Jessica.
"If it wasn't for John, the kangaroo would have killed her," Mr O'Loughlan.
Jessica was taken by ambulance to Coffs Harbour Health Campus where she was treated for shock.
NPWS Coffs Coast area manager, Glenn Storrie, said rangers met with the family yesterday to consider options for dealing with the problem animal as well as providing advice on living with kangaroos generally.
"Kangaroos are wild animals that react instinctively," Mr Storrie said.
"Although these types of incidents are infrequent, this most recent incident highlights the need for people to be aware of the presence and nature of kangaroos.
"Conflict with kangaroos can occur if they perceive a person as a threat to themselves, their mates or young. With males this can also be perceived as a threat to a sparring partner or as a challenge to their group dominance."