Just a quick note to let you know what’s happening here in Canberra at the moment.
Being a Canberran born and bred I have grown up with kangaroos and have become pretty adept at spotting them near the road when driving. In fact until recently I had only ever clipped one which blindsided me back in the80’s. Even during the mass influx of roos during the drought a few years back, I had a few close calls but managed to avoid hitting any. That was until two weeks ago. I’d just finished a night shift and as it was just before dawn on a cool crisp still morning I was well aware that these were perfect conditions for kangaroos. In fact I was probably more alert than usual as though it was some sort of premonition. I was less than five kilometres from home when I saw it, a good sized Eastern Grey bounding along parallel with my car so I immediately hit the brakes. The roo then chose this point to change direction and somehow managed to leap in front of the car and I went straight over the top of it before being able to come to a complete stop. To my surprise the roo sprung from the rear of the car and bounded off into the distance apparently without injury but I did spend the next few days wondering if it was alright or suffering a slow painful death under a bush somewhere. Even though there was little damage to my car my neighbour wasn’t so lucky as two days later his encounter with a wayward roo cost him a new bumper grill and radiator which was a better result than a work colleague who only a month or so before wrote off his four wheel drive when an impact with a roo actually snapped the engine block off its mounts, luckily both kangaroos died instantly from these accidents.
Now I say luckily as a week to the day from my first incident I had picked up my little girl from school and was heading home. It was around 3:15 in the afternoon and I was in a line of traffic when out of nowhere another decent sized Eastern Grey bounded from the right hand side of the road managing to pick the gap between the oncoming traffic, me and the car in front , clip my bonnet and slam straight into the windscreen. I actually have no real memory of how but somehow I managed to get the car to the side of the road without being able to see anything and more amazingly without the car following rear-ending me after my panic stricken locking of the brakes. In fact all I can remember was my little girl screaming and probably me screaming as well. After double checking we were out of harm’s way and finally settling my daughter down I got out to inspect the damage and was amazed at how the windscreen managed to hold so well and not slam into my or my daughters face. Several other cars had stopped to see if we were alright and they too seemed pretty impressed with our luck but unfortunately the kangaroo hadn’t faired quite as well as its thigh bone was protruding from the skin. None of us knew what to do as if anyone approached the roo it would try to stand which was quite obviously causing it more distress and seeing it thrashing around in agony only had me more thankful it hadn’t come through the windscreen into the cabin . At some point someone came up to me, as I’d returned to my daughter, and said they’d called the rangers and they’d be here shortly.
I honestly don’t know how long shortly was but my wife had driven half an hour from work to pick up our daughter to take her home while I waited for the tow truck. By the time the ranger arrived I was alone on the side of the road still trying to work out how to comfort the roo while being too scared to go to close. I’d even tried to cover it with an old picnic rug we had in the boot but it would try to stand as soon as I approached it and it was making some pretty horrific noises. I’ll spare you the details but when the ranger arrived he was forced to put the roo down and I queried him on what a difficult job it must be. He said it was but it has become part of life in Canberra. Although he wasn’t aware of the exact figures he estimated that they would euthanize approximately eight kangaroos a day in the ACT that had been hit by cars. This figure didn’t include the kangaroos they remove from the road that were already dead or those that had been hit and they couldn’t find them nor those that had been hit but not reported. A conservative estimation would have to lean towards at least twenty kangaroos a day are being hit by cars in the ACT region. The ranger himself admitted to hitting one on the way to work one morning.
Now I know you guys believe you’re doing the right thing by stopping this cull in Canberra but the kangaroo problem is getting ridiculous and very very dangerous. After this experience I truly believe that a cull would have to be far more humane than the scene I witnessed. A scene where an injured animal writhed and grunted in complete agony for almost an hour. A scene that is potentially replicated 20 times a day in Canberra, 140 times a week, 500 time a month, 6,000 time a year! But even worse, what if that roo was a few pounds heavier or I was travelling a few kilometres faster? What would have happened to my little girl? Thankfully she’s alright but still a little traumatised by the incident as most kids would be. In the mean time when I get the quote from the panel beaters should I send it to your organisation?
For your consideration