29 January 2020

Government loads up for five-year roo cull deal

| Ian Bushnell
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Eastern grey kangaroo

Last year’s cull of eastern grey kangaroos was the biggest yet. Photo: File.

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.

Roo cull

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.

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Frankie Seymour11:29 am 03 Feb 20

Very disappointing that the Riot Act is giving credence to the ACT government’s usual twaddle about why they are killing the kangaroos. The annual massacre has nothing to do kangaroos starving, or being overpopulated, or harming the environment. It is all about getting money and votes from farmers and developers. It has never been about anything else. As for the Code of Practice, it exists only to protect shooters from prosecution for what would otherwise be criminal acts of cruelty. Killing yet more kangaroos when millions have already died in these fires is mindbogglingly stupid as well as morally inexcusable.

rationalobserver10:13 am 02 Feb 20

Lots and lots of comments here by people who clearly have no idea about wildlife management.
Culling will become critical as the land rebounds from the fires, with the green pick fuelling a population explosion. Kangaroos have an amazing capacity to reproduce.
Wildlife literature abounds with science showing that translocation results in high mortality rates. Translocation hurts not only the animal translocated, but the animals in the release area.
Widescale contraception is not feasible. For that to work you would need to keep every kangaroo in an enclosed pen and repeatedly capture or dart them, again an animal welfare nightmare.
There is nothing cruel about a head shot. It’s instant lights out. No stress, no fear, no anxiety. No pain. Contrast that with the insidiously slow death from starvation and dehydration, or predation whilst you are in a very weakened state.
If you really care about animals, you must accept that a cull is the best of all available options. If you can not accept that, then I fear that your focus is on your own feelings rather than the welfare of the animals.

Still don’t understand why they just bury the carcasses, rather than at least using them for pet food. Even just over the border there are chiller boxes taking roos for the pet food market. Seems wasteful.

Kill/cull all the native animals and cut down all the native trees. Then overpopulate the territory with humans.
The plan is coming together.

At a time when wildlife (including Eastern Grey kangaroos) are taking a major hit due to the fires, on top of land clearing that has wiped their habitat out and made them far more vulnerable to droughts like the current one we are experiencing, the ACT government take the first steps to kill a few more thousand of them. Ugly, this is simply ugly. No care or concern for the kangaroo families who, like the rest of us, want to be left in peace. Of course the excuse will be they are ‘starving’ but even when the rains are good their excuse is they are overpopulating. The kangaroos can’t win. The so-called science is scientism at best. Rest assured ACT government groups such as Animal Liberation ACT, the Antispeciesist Collective and Animal Protectors Alliance will be there from the first shot. See you on the reserves.

rationalobserver9:24 pm 30 Jan 20

Good. The roo population in Canberra is unnaturally high and unsustainable. They need proactive management and shooting is currently the most humane way of achieving this.

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