They hop, kick, rear their pups in small pouches, and make us all go ‘awww’ every time — which is why National Kangaroo Awareness Day is observed every year on October 24. On this day, awareness about this marsupial’s plight, which is hunted and murdered in disturbingly huge numbers across Australia, and its offspring are created. People are encouraged to honor this beautiful creature by protecting and saving as many kangaroos and their young as possible.
History of National Kangaroo Awareness Day
Around 30 million years ago, the kangaroo’s ancestors arrived in the Australian rainforests. According to historians, they may have developed from possum-like animals that solely lived in trees. These little creatures made their way to the ground and eventually became the first kangaroos. As the grasslands grew more prominent, so did the kangaroo species. These kangaroos evolved more and more diversified throughout time, finally developing into the red kangaroos we saw on this day three million years ago.
We have similar-looking red, and gray kangaroos, the wallaby, the musky-rat kangaroo, and others mistakenly called kangaroos. Technically, scientists categorize all these as ‘macropods,’ which means ‘big feet.’ Kangaroo, an Aboriginal name, is often used to refer to various animals of this family, not just the hop-happy ones we are familiar with. Scientifically, however, only two can be kangaroos by the narrowest definitions, the fast hopping red and gray-colored kangaroos.
Why do these large marsupials hop, a locomotion technique seen only in smaller animals? Scientists can only theorize the answer. Presently, three ideas dominate: Kangaroos adopted this mechanism to effectively escape predators because apparently, rodents that can hop are twice as likely to escape their predators than those who run. They started hopping because these animals needed their arms free to forage for food. It might have simply been faster and more effective for kangaroos to move this way, especially in the deserts of Australia, where water and food take more effort to find.
Although we don’t know much about their history, we need to preserve these marsupials, who are a global asset. This day celebrates this magnificent creature.
National Kangaroo Awareness Day timeline
Skippy the bush kangaroo makes her television debut in a much-loved Australian children's T.V. series, “Skippy.”
Lulu, the hand-reared kangaroo, alerts her human family members to a fallen farmer's plight, thus saving his life; she later wins the R.S.P.C.A. Australia National Animal Valour Award in 2004 for her brave act.
According to the national government, kangaroos and their young ones can be killed, and the New South Wales government approves the hunts and deaths of more than 269,000 kangaroos.
Smuggled kangaroos are found in India, raising concerns about unregulated exotic animal trafficking.
National Kangaroo Awareness Day FAQs
What day is World Kangaroo Day?
On October 24, every year, the world celebrates World Kangaroo Day to honor and celebrate the largest marsupial in existence today.
What is International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day?
Every year on May 15, International Kangaroo Care Awareness Day honors parents who provide ‘kangaroo care’ to their newborns, a unique ‘kangaroo-like’ type of baby care that includes constant skin-to-skin contact between mothers and their children.
Why is it called Kangaroo mother care?
The way these marsupials look after their young is known as ‘kangaroo mother care.’ Premature children were cared for in nations without reliable incubators in the 1970s — in the same way, a kangaroo cares for her joey.
How to Observe National Kangaroo Awareness Day
Enjoy watching a kangaroo
Don't miss a chance to watch the antics of these beautiful animals. Check out their videos online, or, if possible, see the kangaroos in their natural habitat — Australia!
Attend a kangaroo awareness event
Various organizations in Australia host virtual and in-person events to celebrate their native marsupial. Find out about the events held this year, and attend at least one informative session.
Help the kangaroo
Volunteers who can provide time, support, or donations are always welcome at kangaroo conservation and awareness organizations. Check out these sanctuaries and wildlife organizations to see how you can help the kangaroo.
5 Fun Facts About The Adorable Kangaroo
The kangaroo is so closely associated with Australia's identity that it appears on the country's coat of arms, commercial logos, and currency.
Kangaroos are hopping experts
They are the only large animals to hop while traveling; they are also fast, moving between 16 mph and 44 mph.
Olympic-level fitness, except for one thing
They can hop quickly, swim well, jump very high, and even stroll, but there is one thing they can't seem to master — walking backward.
Jelly bean-sized babies
Baby kangaroos, called 'joeys,' are only about one inch when they are born and will grow big enough to leave their mom's 'pouch' — for a short while — only after around four months.
Rocky 'roo' Balboa
Male kangaroos usually end up fighting each other, and their training begins when they are young — they play-fight with their moms and, later, other young males.
Why National Kangaroo Awareness Day is Important
Who can resist a kangaroo?
Their doe-like eyes, adorable 'boxing' stance, little pouches with a joey inside, and funny antics make kangaroos one of the most-loved creatures on the planet. We wholeheartedly embrace every chance we get to learn more about them.
They're essential to Australia
Native to Australia (and New Guinea), these animals are an important symbol to the Australian people and are sacred to native Australians too. They are part of the country's history, and events like these ensure they stay a part of Australia's future.
It encourages conservation
These curious, social, and funny animals are hunted and killed for their meat, often inhumanely. By celebrating this day, we are creating an Australia and a world where kangaroos roam without the threat of unnecessary harm from humans.
National Kangaroo Awareness Day dates