Almost 2,000 kangaroos will be culled across the ACT starting on Monday to protect grassland and woodland sites.
Ten nature reserves will be closed from mid to late afternoon until early morning over the coming months to allow a conservation cull of eastern grey kangaroos.
Daniel Iglesias, director of ACT Parks and Conservation, said the cull of up to 1991 eastern grey kangaroos was needed to protect biodiversity and maintain populations at appropriate levels to minimise impacts on other flora and fauna.
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Mr Iglesias said government ecologists had taken into account the habitat requirements of grassland-dependent animals and plants.
“The numbers to be culled have been based on scientific kangaroo counts in each location,” he said.
“Culling of overabundant kangaroos is currently the most humane method of population control available to the ACT government as a responsible land manager.”
A fertility control vaccine is being tested as a potential non-lethal approach to managing eastern grey numbers. The two-year trial is taking place at several small sites across Canberra.
Mr Iglesias said ensuring the grasslands and woodlands were not overgrazed would protect threatened species and ecosystems, provide habitat for creatures such as lizards and ground-feeding birds, prevent excessive soil loss and maintain sustainable numbers of kangaroos.
“Every year we assess the population of eastern grey kangaroos at each site as well as take into account the quality of flora at each site to determine whether culling is required.
“Importantly, we also undertake the conservation cull in conjunction with other land management activities.
Other control measures
“Weed management and rabbit control is also conducted on each of the nature reserves where culling is being undertaken and ParkCare volunteers provide additional support through hundreds of hours of volunteer work.”
The 10 sites to be closed for the conservation cull are: Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Gungaderra Nature Reserve, Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve (and adjacent unleased land), Kama Nature Reserve, Mount Majura Nature Reserve (and adjacent unleased land), Mount Mugga Mugga Nature Reserve, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, Mulanggari Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary and The Pinnacle Nature Reserve (and adjacent unleased land).
Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve, Gungaderra Nature Reserve, Kama Nature Reserve and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary will be closed between 3pm and 7am each day.
The other sites will be closed from 5pm to 7 am each day. Sites will re-open from Monday 1 August 2016 or earlier if the program is completed sooner
Mr Iglesias said the cull would be conducted according to the relevant National Code of Practice.
Parks and Conservation Service staff will patrol areas to ensure the safety of the public.
Warning signs will be placed at all entry points to the reserves and surveillance cameras will be used to enhance public safety and detect illegal activity.
“I’d like to urge the public to be vigilant and report any illegal activity at affected nature reserves.
“Every year the ACT Government experiences vandalism and removal of warning signage which costs taxpayers’ money to repair the damage and disrupts the work of volunteer groups who help look after our parks.”
To report incidents of vandalism or suspicious behaviour please contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or Access Canberra on 13 22 81.
“Fines apply under the Nature Conservation Act 2014 for vandalising reserve infrastructure or entering closed reserves.”
The ACT government will use a proportion of the kangaroo meat to make baits for its wild dog and fox control programs.