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This Roo-Counting Couple Lost $2 Billion In Cruel Pozible Prank

Australian ecologists thought a generous benefactor had pledged billions towards their kangaroo conservation project, but then it disappeared.

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So in 2005, young ecologists Euan Ritchie and Jen Martin got in a 4WD and set out on a roo-counting adventure in the spectacular wilderness.

Ten years on, and they started hearing stories from the local indigenous community that the marsupials were disappearing at an alarming rate.

David Webb

Studies show in the last 200 years, Australia has lost over 10% of its native mammals. No other country has had such a high rate of loss of land mammals over the same time period.

Respected scientist Tim Flannery says population data on these vulnerable species is "desperately needed".

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So the intrepid couple set up a Pozible fund, hoping to raise $15,000 to go back to the tropics and see how the roos are faring, ten years down the track.

David Webb

"Science funding is not exactly flush right now," Jen told BuzzFeed News.

"This government is not particularly in support of science, but this is too important and we're not going to take no for an answer. So we decided to take matters into our own hands and head back there."

Um, is this a mistake? A$2,147,483,647 pledged of A$15,000 http://t.co/8PyRcQwVK0 #BigRooCount @scidocmartin @Pozible Really hope it's not!

Here's the email Jen got from Pozible, with a $2147483647 credit card donation from Jeffrey Green.

Jeffrey Green apparently maxed out his card donating to @EuanRitchie1 & @scidocmartin's @pozible

But a couple of hours later, the $2 billion disappeared.

If our generous #BigRooCount donor got their CC expiry date wrong, we're keen to take the pledge again @EuanRitchie1

Jen and Euan say they have no idea who Jeffrey Green is. The mystery benefactor even claimed a prize worth $2000, which is more than had been donated to the whole campaign at that point.

A spokesperson for Pozible says they rejected the pledge because it was deemed suspicious.

"When we called it was a wrong number, which was a fairly clear indication to us that it wasn't a genuine pledge. We could also see that the person had tried to pledge twice with different payment options, but the same amount each time. They were pretty determined," the spokesperson told BuzzFeed News.

Pozible has since removed Jeffrey Green's account.

"That said, $2 billion is probably the most amount of money that's ever been pledged to a crowdfunding campaign ever, and we're a little sad we couldn't be part of making history!"

Jen and Euan say they have no idea why someone pulled this prank on them.

Jen Martin

"It would cost $400 million to save all of Australia's threatened species, Jen says.

"You just can't help but dream that if there were philanthropists out there, people who could see that was important, what we could do with that money

We're losing an iconic species without people noticing and that's very sad, especially when it is something as big and gorgeous as a kangaroo."

But they're determined not to let that stop them, and are already a third of the way to their $15,000 goal.

Jen Martin

It's not $2 billion, but it'll be enough to get their roo-mobile back on the road again.

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