The ACT Government is seeking to secure shooters to carry out the Territory’s annual kangaroo cull for the next five years.
Under a tender issued on 22 January, the government wants to lock in a contractor on a three-year deal, with the possibility of two further 12 month extensions
A cull of the ACT’s eastern grey kangaroo population is conducted each year between 1 March and 31 July in the Canberra Nature Park and public lands to ease the impact of grazing on other native fauna and flora, including endangered communities of yellow box/red gum grassy woodlands and natural temperate grasslands.
Many kangaroos also starve to death as overpopulation leads to a lack of feed, particularly when combined with dry conditions such as the kind the ACT has been experiencing.
The number of kangaroos culled has been steadily rising in recent years, with 4035 animals killed by contracted shooters across 14 sites last year, just shy of the 4076 target number.
Last year’s cull was the largest undertaken in the history of the program in terms of numbers and sites to be targeted.
Territory ecologists select target sites and target cull quotas based on scientific assessment and the cull must be conducted in accordance with the kangaroo management plans.
The government wants a contractor to provide two teams of a shooter and driver each, which can operate on the same site or in different locations.
The annual cull has often been controversial with animal activists in the past protesting against and attempting to disrupt the program.
The tender says shooters can expect protester activity at cull sites, and intense media and political scrutiny, which can result in delays to the cull’s timetable.
It also says the contractor must operate in a “covert manner by having a very low signature when entering and exiting sites” and maintain program confidentiality.
Shooters will be working at night and must use telescopic sights and silencers, without white light and assisted by a combination of thermal and night vision technology to locate and shoot kangaroos with very high accuracy and humanely.
According to the tender, shooters must aim to kill 100 per cent of kangaroos instantly, with a minimum requirement of 97 per cent per shift. They must meet at least 90 per cent of their target quotas per shift.
Shooters must have Territory administered shooter proficiency accreditation, passing marksmanship tests, being able to identify different species of kangaroos and wallabies, and have a knowledge of the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes.
The teams must count and collect carcasses, which the government will take to a nominated spot for disposal.
The tender closes on 18 February and then the government is looking to sign a contract in March.