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23 Jan 2018 13:17
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  •   Home > News > International

    Country singer Luke Bryan under fire after kangaroo Christmas present to wife

    American country singer Luke Bryan is slammed for being "cruel" after giving his wife two kangaroo joeys for Christmas. So what does the law say about keeping the iconic Australian animals as pets?

    While some Australians think of kangaroos as pests, in some parts of the United States they can be kept as pets.

    And when American country singer Luke Bryan posted a video to Instagram of the moment he gave his wife Caroline Boyer two kangaroo joeys on Christmas, it caused quite a stir.

    Bryan later posted a photo of the joeys, Margo and Todd, wearing nappies and sitting inside.

    The post indicated the animals would be the latest addition to the family's rescue barn, named Brett's Barn in honour of their late niece.

    But many people online expressed anger and concern for the joeys' welfare.

    "It's animal cruelty, they should not be in nappies or inside and are way too young to be away from their mother," one commenter said.

    "Wow … what a cruel gift! Kangaroos belong in the wild … not as house pets. Shame on you," another said.

    Others slammed the singer for disregarding the possible dangers the animals could pose.

    Can kangaroos be kept as pets?

    While most of Australia's marsupials, including kangaroos, are considered wild animals in the US, whether or not someone can have them as a pet depends on the state.

    Tennessee, where Bryan is believed to live, does not regulate the private possession of certain species, including kangaroos, according to Born Free USA.

    However, kangaroos are considered "inherently dangerous" in the state of Georgia.

    In Colorado, sugar gliders, wallabies, wallaroos and kangaroos are considered to be unregulated wildlife and people are allowed to keep up to six as pets.

    Other states specify the need for a permit or commercial and conservation reasons in order to keep exotic or wild animals as pets.

    In Australia, the laws around keeping kangaroos as pets varies depending on where you live.

    All states and territories have strict rules around keeping native or protected animals as pets and permits are required.

    In Victoria, kangaroos are a protected native species and according the Wildlife Act 1975, a person cannot keep protected wildlife unless they are licenced or authorised to do so.

    It is a similar story for the ACT, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

    The permits required are not that easy to obtain and in the ACT it is often only organisations such as zoos and researchers that are granted them.

    In Western Australia kangaroos cannot be kept as pets.

    However, if the animal is in care and cannot be returned to the wild, it may be kept in captivity if a licence is granted.

    Kangaroos are protected in New South Wales and cannot be kept as pets.

    Similarly, in Queensland, mammals are not included in the list of native animals that can be kept as pets.

    © 2018 ABC Australian Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved

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