16 May 2021

Cull of more than 1500 kangaroos defended as vital to conservation

| Michael Weaver
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An eastern grey kangaroo

An Eastern Grey kangaroo at Tidbinbilla. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

The director of the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, Daniel Iglesias, has said a cull of more than 1500 Eastern Grey kangaroos is vital to preserving the biodiversity of plants and animals in the Territory.

Mr Iglesias said 1568 Eastern Grey kangaroos will be removed from six priority reserves in Canberra, which will be closed each evening from Sunday to Thursday (16-20 May) to allow for the cull to take place.

Warning signs will be placed at all entry points to the reserves, along with surveillance cameras, and Parks and Conservation staff will patrol the areas.

Mount Ainslie Nature Reserve, Mount Majura Nature Reserve, East Jerrabomberra Grasslands, Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary will be closed for the cull.

The nature reserves will remain open during the day.

“As always, this cull is in Canberra Nature Park, so there will be no culling in Namadgi National Park,” Mr Iglesias said.

“We are confident this number will manage grazing pressure and achieve priority conservation outcomes while maintaining public, staff and contractor safety.”

He said above-average rainfall meant during the last 12 months meant kangaroos were over-grazing in certain areas.

“Although we have seen above-average rainfall over the last year, the ecosystem is still fragile. Where kangaroos remain above sustainable numbers, we must continue to manage their populations to reduce grazing pressure and help our nature reserves maintain resilience against the effects of climate change now and into the future.

“However, because of the rainfall, a number of priority sites where sustainable kangaroo numbers have been maintained over the past few years now require little or no further management in 2021.

Other methods of managing the kangaroo population in the ACT include fencing and fertility control.

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Mr Iglesias said nobody likes shooting kangaroos, but this was the most humane method of kangaroo population management currently available to the ACT Government in its role as a responsible land manager.

“The cull is undertaken in strict accordance with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes. The ACT also employs additional measures so that best-practice animal welfare standards are met and exceeded,” he said.

“Kangaroos are an integral part of the ecosystems around Canberra, and we hope the community will understand that the conservation cull is vital for the wellbeing of the environment and the many plants and animals that call our reserves home.

“Research demonstrates that overgrazing by kangaroos, particularly in critical conservation areas, can threaten the survival of local grassland sites and species as well as cause erosion and promote weed infestations.”

Some kangaroo meat from the cull will be processed into baits for use in the ACT Government wild dog and fox control programs, while up to 700 kangaroo carcasses will be donated to an endangered native species breeding program.

Carcasses, or parts thereof, will also be made available for Indigenous cultural use.

An ACT Government survey in 2019 indicated that 79 per cent of ACT residents agreed that culling kangaroos is appropriate under certain circumstances.

You can find more information about the cull and detailed closure times on the ACT Parks and Conservation website.

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