DR H RALPH
BVSc (Hens), MVS (Wildlife Medicine)
MBBS (Hons), JCCA Accred (Anaesth),
A/Dip FA, Dip TESL, Cert Ed NSW
Clinical Forensic MO
15 June 2012
REPORT PERTAINING TO EASTERN GREY KANGAROO
On 4 June 2012, I was requested to conduct a post mortem examination on a young,
male Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The kangaroo weighed 16kg.
POST MORTEM EXAMINATION
The nutritional status of the kangaroo was adequate.
The kangaroo was externally moist and the fur contained a considerable amount of
dried and moist dirt in small rolled balls attached to the fur. There was blood partly
covering the head, neck, front legs and chest. There were several wounds evident
on the head and neck.
The first of these wounds was a small (0.5 to 1.0 cm diameter) rounded hole that
penetrated deeply into the tissue at the level of the zygomatic arch and mid distance
between the right eye and the right ear. The penetration progressed in a line from
the small hole, through the soft tissue of the temporal, masseter and facial muscles
and out through the lateral area that was originally the mandible. That area showed a
large (6x 5 cm), irregular wound containing remnants of soft tissue and multiple small
fragments of mandibular bone and teeth. The original structure of the mandible and
teeth was totally disrupted. There two wounds are consistent with a bullet wound
entry above and exit below.
The second wound was at the posterodorsal (back and top) aspect of the head.
There was considerable crepitus (crunching sensation) on palpation of the skull and
the cranium was deformed and not intact. Incision over the scalp revealed
haemorrhage beneath the skin and multiple fractures of the cranial (skull) bone.
These bone fragments were easily moved to display a large amount of haemorrhage
within the skull and brain. The brain showed considerable external haemorrhage with
some also in the ventricles and brain substance. This injury is consistent with a
crushing, blunt trauma to the skull and brain.
The third wound was on the right side of the neck about 4cm distal to the angle of
the mandible (point of the jaw), 3 to 4cm from dorsal (top) to ventral (bottom) and
2cm wide at the centre. The edges of the wound were regular and smooth consistent
with a sharp knife entry wound. Within the wound there was blood from the jugular
vein, carotid artery and other smaller vessel that had been severed. A number of
muscles were divided (severed). The trachea was divided (severed) leaving a
smooth surface on each fragment. There was blood in both sections of the trachea
and extending down into the bronchi.
The skin of the neck was retracted and revealed subcutaneous haemorrhage
extending from the posterior skull along the dorsum (top) of the cervical area to
almost the level of the scapula and shoulder. This indicated that there was bleeding
from the head wounds during life.
The chest cavity was opened and contained lungs that partly contained air and partly
contained blood particularly on the right. The distribution of the air was consistent
with aspiration of blood during breathing.
The abdomen, hind limbs and lumbosacral spine were examined and did not reveal
The first wound to the face was consistent with a gunshot from above, the bullet
entering at the dorsal part of the right hand side and exiting at the level of the
mandible and causing massive damage to that bone and teeth. That was likely to be
the primary wound of a series of three wounds and is not likely to have been fatal.
The second wound, to the skull and brain, caused extensive trauma/damage to both
structures and is consistent with blunt trauma caused by a blow with a heavy object.
Considering the bleeding along the dorsum of the neck and the series of three
assaults on this kangaroo, this trauma to the head was unlikely to have caused
The third wound is consistent with a penetrating knife wound to the neck. The skin,
muscle, vessels and trachea were divided in such a manner as to be also consistent
with a deep knife injury. The presence of blood aspirated into the trachea, bronchi
and lung is consistent with aspiration before death.
The above series of lesions indicates that the kangaroo was first shot, then
bludgeoned on the head and then stabbed in the neck. The evidence is consistent
with the kangaroo being alive until finally being exsanguinated and asphyxiated by a
laceration to the throat. The kangaroo very likely suffered severe pain and distress
for some time during this progressive attack, until the fatal exsanguination and
Dr Howard Ralph