Animal rights groups are investigating after a video emerged showing a man killing an injured kangaroo by slitting its throat several times.

The footage, which went viral on social media sites including Twitter and its Chinese equivalent Weibo, shows a man approaching the kangaroo with a hunting knife in his hand as it limps around on the ground.

The man, believed to be Chinese, then pulls on the animal's tail and holds it down with his foot before hacking at its neck more than a dozen times, leaving it in a pool of blood before sitting down on the hillside. The people filming the video can also be heard laughing in the background.

It is unclear what prompted the man in the video to kill the kangaroo, but there is a suggestion he decided to euthanise the animal because it was severely injured, possibly after being hit by a car.

The RSPCA in New South Wales said they are investigating the footage of the kangaroo after it was passed onto them, but said it is unclear when and where the incident occurred.

Under Australian law, a person can be jailed for animal cruelty for five years if it can be proven that there was intent to make the animal suffer.

RSPCA spokesperson Stefania Kubowicz told the BBC: "We get a lot of alerts like this that come via social media. If people spot such things online, they can get in touch with us as was the case with this video."

It is not known when the footage was filmed Screengrab