17 September 2021

Hopping mad! TikTok video shows kangaroos taking over Canberra's city centre

| James Coleman
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Kangaroos in Civic at night

A Canberra Uber driver spotted these kangaroos in Civic and snapped a quick video. Photo: Umair Rehmat.

Leave something alone for five minutes and we know what happens. Leave Canberra alone for five minutes, and there’ll literally be kangaroos in the streets.

Five weeks into COVID-19 lockdown and it seems nature is already reclaiming the city centre.

A local Uber driver, Umair Rehmat, shared a video to his social media account of three kangaroos jumping through an empty street in Civic.

Coming across the marsupial trio during his nightshift with the transport provider, Umair snapped a 15-second video from his car and uploaded it as a reel to his TikTok account.

The caption reads: “Canberra lockdown be like [crazy face emojis] city is for kangaroos now.”

So far, the video has been played 180,000 times, has received 17,600 likes and been shared more than 3000 times.

READ ALSO Canberra like you’ve never seen it: lockdown turns the nation’s capital into a ghost town

Many of the 394 comments mention how little time it took for the kangaroos to reclaim the city, as well as how this only confirms the tall tales other countries have heard about Australia.

“This is why foreigners think we have kangaroos everywhere,” reads one comment.

“Finally the kangaroos are getting the chance to check out what the hairless tall walkers have done to the place,” reads another.

One eagle-eyed viewer noted the kangaroos were very compliant and even “stopped on the red light and waited for the light to turn green”.

Although some people also pointed out they did seem to ignore the sign forbidding a right-hand turn.

Others suggested they were breaking health restrictions by being out and about without masks, and that perhaps vaccination should be extended to cover kangaroos.

Then there was the simple comment: “I miss Canberra.”

Images from ACT traffic cameras showing empty streets

A selection of images from Canberra’s traffic cameras reveals largely abandoned streets during COVID-19 lockdown. Photos: ACT Government Facebook.

The eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus) is the species most common to the ACT, with the region having some of the highest population densities of the animal in southeast Australia.

However, this means the ACT also comes with the highest number of incidences between kangaroos and motorists.

Tracking studies reveal that while remaining faithful to a particular area, kangaroos are nomadic and won’t hesitate to move around in search of richer food sources.

Photos from the initial two weeks of the ACT’s COVID-19 lockdown show just how quiet the streets were, with normally busy thoroughfares falling silent as Canberrans heeded the health advice and stayed at home wherever possible.

Essential workers and grocery shoppers were about the only people spotted driving around town, as shown in a series of images from traffic cameras released by the ACT Government.

However, as restrictions were relaxed on 2 September, 2021, people have been able to meet with up to five others in public outdoor areas. This has been accompanied by an increase in traffic along Canberra’s arterial roads.

Enjoy it while it lasts, kangaroos. We’ll be back.

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This is nothing new. During the Black Death pandemic in 14th century Europe, many animals were saved from extinction. Rampant hunting and unchecked habitat loss the main culprits. If Canberrans want to continue to see these beautiful creatures in their neighbourhoods please write to the ACT Government to stop the cruel and catastrophic “cull”. Instead use the money to build a series of wildlife overpasses to which will allow all our precious wildlife to pass through the Bush Capital safely.

Here’s a bunch who were running to catch a bus , so the caption says.


I remember in 1985 when I gained an American penfriend and he told me that he had penfriends in Sydney and Melbourne who told him that kangaroos were fairly rare and did not hop down the main street as Americans believed. I wrote back and told him that the others were wrong. That I lived in Canberra, the bush capital, we kangaroos literally do hop down the main street.

Years ago, I used to bait American friends that we have kangaroos jumping down the main street.

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