The viral video of a man punching a kangaroo has a tragic backstory

dude punching kangaroo

Screengrab via Joker/YouTube

Here’s why Greig Tonkins went toe-to-toe with a kangaroo.

A video went viral over the weekend of a man punching a kangaroo to save his dog, Max. The pup was caught in the clutches of a marsupial after about 20 of them ran by on a boar-hunting trip. Seeing his dog trapped in a headlock, owner Greig Tonkins came to the rescue.

Since the video hit the web, more information has been revealed about Tonkins as well as the trip that took him to Condobolin, New South Wales. 

The trip occurred in June and was for Tonkins’ friend, 19-year-old Kailem, who passed away last Thursday after battling Ewing Sarcoma. The footage was shot by Greg Bloom and is part of a larger video depicting the friends successfully hunting and killing a “tonner”—that is, a wild boar weighing at least 100 kilograms, or around 220 lbs. or more.

“This hunting trip was put together for a sick young man called Kailem who passed away from cancer last week,” Mathew Amor told news.com.au. “Basically Kailem wanted to catch a boar. And 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.”

The Australian media piece about Tonkins punching a kangaroo highlights the trip itself far more than the man behind the fistfight. 

The Daily Mail reports that Tonkins is a zookeeper at Western Plains Zoo near Dubbo, New South Wales. According to a spokesperson at the zoo, they’re “working with Mr. Tonkins to understand the exact circumstances of the event and will consider any appropriate action.”

Amor maintains that Tonkins “only stunned” the kangaroo and poked fun at the man’s weak hit. According to Amor, however, Kailem would be loving the media spectacle surrounding what he believes was the best part of the trip:

“Kailem would be looking down from up there [heaven] and laughing because it was the highlight of the trip.”

Kailem’s GoFundMe has received even more donations in the wake of the video’s viral rise. An update on the page is encouraging contributors to donate directly to the cancer support service Lifehouse

April Siese

April Siese

A former Weekend Editor at the Daily Dot, April Siese's reporting covers everything from technology and politics to web culture and humor. Her work has been published by Bustle, Uproxx, Death and Taxes, Rolling Stone, the Daily Beast, Thrillist, Atlas Obscura, and others. Siese joined Quartz in December 2016.