Kangaroos learn from previous interactions with humans, habituating to benign human disturbances and rapidly identifying humans as a threat when previous interactions were harmful.
The frequency of past harmful disturbances such as human harassment and/or shooting significantly affects kangaroo risk perception of when to flee to avoid harm (injury or death). A recent study by Austin and Ramp (2019) found that kangaroos that had experienced high frequencies (more than once per week) of harmful disturbances flee almost immediately after human stimulus was detected.
This has implications for kangaroo wellbeing (fitness) such as nutritional deficiencies due to lost foraging opportunities, increased vigilance and increased energy expenditure for kangaroos when they flee.
The Austin and Ramp (2019) study indicates that kangaroos modify their behaviour in response to harmful interactions with humans such as shooting. For example, young joeys stay closer to their mothers and play less.
Harmful interactions with humans creates a 'landscape of fear' that alters kangaroo behaviour and wellbeing.