Animal activists have vowed to keep waging their ‘David and Goliath’ fight against the ACT Government which will tomorrow begin culling 2,606 eastern grey kangaroos.
Despite being unable to stop years of kangaroo culling in the ACT, activists say they will “keep chipping away” on the issue and believe they are gaining a little more traction in the community.
However, their concerns about the ethics of kangaroo culling will again fall on deaf ears as the annual cull starts tomorrow in 12 nature reserves in the ACT and adjacent areas.
The targeted area will be more widespread than in previous years, with more than half the cull quota to apply to kangaroos in the ACT-managed Googong Foreshores area across the NSW border.
ACT Director of Parks and Conservation, Daniel Iglesias, said the cull of 2,606 kangaroos is necessary in order to “protect biodiversity and maintain populations at appropriate levels to minimise impacts on other flora and fauna in critical grassland and woodland sites”.
Mr Iglesias said that up to 1406 eastern grey kangaroos will be culled in the Googong Foreshores which contains a number of threatened ecological communities and plant and animal species.
“It forms part of a corridor of relatively intact vegetation extending from the Tinderry Range to the north-eastern ACT,” Mr Iglesias said.
Reserves to close from mid to late afternoon
Starting from tomorrow (May 17), 12 nature reserves will close to the public from mid to late afternoon until early morning to enable the cull to take place. They will re-open to the public on Saturday, July 29 or earlier if the cull is completed sooner.
The six reserves to be closed between 3 pm and 7 am each day are Callum Brae Nature Reserve, West Jerrabomberra Nature Reserve, East Jerrabomberra Grasslands, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, and Kama Nature Reserve.
The five reserves to be closed from 5 pm to 7 am each day are Mount Majura Nature Reserve, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, Mount Mugga Mugga Nature Reserve, Isaacs Ridge Nature Reserve, and the Pinnacle Nature Reserve. Googong Foreshores will close daily from 6 pm to 8 am.
Culling numbers assessed annually
“The number of eastern grey kangaroos to be culled in each area is assessed annually by ACT Government ecologists and takes into account current scientific knowledge and the target densities necessary to support conservation outcomes,” Mr Iglesias said.
“Due to previous culling and favourable conditions for pasture growth, the numbers to cull at some sites are reduced this year.”
Mr Iglesias said kangaroo culling is the most humane method of population control available to the ACT Government.
“However a research trial is currently underway into the use of a fertility control vaccine as a potential non-lethal approach to eastern grey kangaroo management. Preliminary results are looking positive, with more results expected towards the end of the year,” he said.
Culling rationale disputed
Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew called the kangaroo culling “immoral and unethical” and disputed the rationale behind the practice.
“Since they’ve doing their so-called conservation cull, they’ve come out with a different rationale every year,” she said.
“It started with starvation back in Belconnen in 2008 and then they did it because of concerns with Legless Lizards and the Golden Sun Moth, and for the last three years they’ve come up with concerns for little birds.
“It seems that they develop or grow their rationale and there’s no actual evidence,” Ms Drew said.
“The other thing they haven’t given the public is any evidence-based research as to whether the culling is actually having the outcome they want.”
Mr Iglesias said the conservation cull will be conducted according to the relevant National Code of Practice and that a proportion of the kangaroo meat will again be used to make baits to use in its wild dog and fox control programs.
He said that ACT Parks and Conservation Service staff will patrol areas to ensure public safety, with warning signs placed at all entry points to reserves and surveillance cameras used to enhance public safety and detect any illegal activity.
What do you think about kangaroo culling? Is it necessary or does it go too far? Let us know in the comments below.