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Is fertility control the right choice for managing ACT roos?

By Canfan - 17 March 2015 13

kangaroo

The ACT Government has today announced it will trial controlling Canberra’s kangaroo population with contraceptives delivered via darts, as an alternative to controversial culls.

Here’s the joint press release from Simon Corbell and Shane Rattenbury, released today:

The ACT Government is funding a research trial into the use of a fertility control vaccine as a potential non-lethal approach to Eastern Grey Kangaroo management, Minister for the Environment Simon Corbell and Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury announced today.

“The government is committed to the management of the endangered grasslands and woodlands that in some areas are being impacted by large populations of kangaroos,” Mr Corbell said.

Mr Rattenbury said he was pleased that TAMS and EPD have been able to work successfully towards a fertility trial.

“It is important that the ACT Government continues to investigate non-lethal alternatives to manage the population of eastern grey kangaroos and protect the biodiversity of Canberra’s nature reserves,” Mr Rattenbury said.

The ACT Government has partnered with CSIRO to undertake research on the use of GonaConTM for controlling the fertility of Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

GonaCon™ is a Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone (GnRH) immunocontraceptive vaccine that is being researched overseas to control the fertility of various species including white tailed deer, bison and boar.

The ACT research builds on work done by ecologists in collaboration with CSIRO and the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, which have provided encouraging results. A single injection of GonaCon™ blocked the reproductive cycle for six years in a high proportion of female Eastern Grey Kangaroos.

The first stage of the project will research a dart delivery system for humanely administering the vaccine to female Eastern Grey Kangaroos. This includes the investigation of the registration of the drug in Australia.

The second stage of the project will conduct field trials of the vaccine at various small sites in the ACT.

“It appears likely from the early trials that GonaConTM could provide a viable method for controlling some kangaroo populations, particularly if it could be administered remotely in a dart,” Mr Corbell said.

“If these trials are successful, the government will investigate this as a possible non-lethal alternative for the management of kangaroos at some sites in the ACT.

“This is a positive step for the ACT Government as we continue to consider all feasible and efficient ways to manage the condition of our environment,” Mr Corbell said.

The project is approved by the University of Canberra Animal Ethics Committee.

Over to you, Rioters. What do you make of today’s announcement?

What’s Your opinion?


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13 Responses to
Is fertility control the right choice for managing ACT roos?
zllauh 12:11 pm 04 May 15

definitely few measures must be taken regarding the rise in population but such an approach is not humane !
what if they wants to have a family :p

Proboscus 6:16 pm 19 Mar 15

Is there any reason why the roos can’t be culled, butchered and sold for our consumption?

rubaiyat 10:15 am 19 Mar 15

Dame Canberra said :

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

Dame Canberra said :

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

Because we have removed the top predators, the aborigines and dingoes whilst fattening the kangaroos up with all our lovely introduced plants.

Nature will kill the excess population if given a chance, but isn’t. Which is why we have a feral ape problem as well. The real cause of all the problems.

Mysteryman 8:30 am 18 Mar 15

I’d prefer they shot them, to be honest. Cheaper. Effective.

switch 1:54 pm 17 Mar 15

FrankReynolds said :

chewy14 said :

How dare the government forceably use these contraceptives on the poor kangaroos. What about their rights to have children and start a family in peace and harmony with nature?

Won’t somebody think of the poor joeys that won’t be born because of this policy. Disgraceful.

They probably should have consulted both the Kangroo’s Front of Judea, and the Judean Kangaroo’s Front.

SPLITTERS!!!

FrankReynolds 1:39 pm 17 Mar 15

chewy14 said :

How dare the government forceably use these contraceptives on the poor kangaroos. What about their rights to have children and start a family in peace and harmony with nature?

Won’t somebody think of the poor joeys that won’t be born because of this policy. Disgraceful.

They probably should have consulted both the Kangroo’s Front of Judea, and the Judean Kangaroo’s Front.

FrankReynolds 1:38 pm 17 Mar 15

Dame Canberra said :

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

Comparing kangaroo populations to land clearing is a bit of a non-sequitor (urbanisation and land clearing are damaging to the environment, but so are artificially high kangaroo populations although they are not necessarily connected), so I’ll leave that alone, and instead focus on the need for population controls.

Kangaroos are prodigious breeders. When conditions are right, populations can explode in very short periods of time. Historically there has been all sorts of things in play that kept populations in check (indigenous hunting, drought and natural predation [think dingos]), however in recent history these controls have been reduced. However, by altering the landscape we have provided more permanent water sources, a key limiting factor in kangaroo population growth, so populations have dramatically increased above historical maximums (in some areas).

For a more in-depth look at why culling (or in this case, fertility control) may have beneficial impacts on the ecosystem, check out http://theconversation.com/new-evidence-culling-kangaroos-could-help-the-environment-30795

While traditional culling (shooting) understandably faces moral debate, there are very good arguments for other forms of population control to be explored.

There are of course counter arguments about localised risks, so see http://theconversation.com/factcheck-are-kangaroos-at-risk-37757, but note the reviewer comment at the bottom.

chewy14 1:28 pm 17 Mar 15

How dare the government forceably use these contraceptives on the poor kangaroos. What about their rights to have children and start a family in peace and harmony with nature?

Won’t somebody think of the poor joeys that won’t be born because of this policy. Disgraceful.

Spiral 1:14 pm 17 Mar 15

Dame Canberra said :

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

I agree that the results of human activity would dwarf that of harm caused by an over population of Kangaroos.

However the less “natural” land we have around the place, the more important it is to manage the remaining areas to prevent damage to them. It does appear that kangaroo numbers do become excessive in some areas around Canberra. This is harmful for that environment, harmful to kangaroos and can negatively impact other creatures.

Is this trial a good one?

Some people have been pushing for it for quite a while. Hopefully we will now see if it is practical and cost effective or if it is a failure. I think it is certainly worth a try.

I would have thought it would be quite cheap as I would think the people who have been protesting the culling would be volunteering their time to help with the trial.

Maya123 1:13 pm 17 Mar 15

Dame Canberra said :

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

Yes, why not let the grass be eaten to the ground. Plus others plants probably too. Why not let kangaroos suffer, starve and die. This is nature. This is what you are suggesting. Plus the harm that the over population of kangaroos does to other species.
I have walked in the bush in droughts on grass shorter than mown lawn, seen kangaroos get up at my approach and then fall down again from weakness. This is nature taking care of itself. This might not worry you, but I find suffering sad, especially if it’s avoidable.

Tenpoints 12:48 pm 17 Mar 15

Dame Canberra said :

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

I believe the ‘problem’ is such that the roos breed to the point where there are too many in the one spot for the land to sustain them. Pre-european settlement they would likely have be able to spread far and wide however now they are constrained to fixed areas bordered by arterial roads and suburbs. While starvation is the main issue for the roos, it also causes a hassle for people when they start looking for grass alongside or across the roads, often getting hit by a vehicle in the process.

I’m sure there are other issues t do with ecology, erosion and whatnot. That’s my take on it anyway.

As for the $400K price tag, how does that compare to the old fashioned and less humane shooting method for cost per roo?

rommeldog56 12:11 pm 17 Mar 15

Heard on the radio this morning a claim that this will cost $400K + ? Not surprisingly I suppose, there is no mention of this cost Vs traditional culling practice in the media release ! This wouldnt be a way for a certain Greens Minister to claw back some of his lost green voter support – at Ratepayers expense would it ? Of course not !

I hope there is a way of working out what Roo’s have been administered the vaccine to stop over multiple administrations. How long will it take for the results to be known ?

Dame Canberra 11:56 am 17 Mar 15

Rioters, help me out. The government seems hell bent on managing kangaroo populations through whatever means possible. But since kangaroos are native, surely any impact they make on the environment (in whatever numbers) has nothing on man-made land clearing for new housing developments etc.

I guess what I’m asking is why controlling kangaroo populations is such a big deal. Why not let nature take care of itself? The ACT seems like the only state or territory who is so vigilant about this kind of stuff. What’s the deal?

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