19 December 2023

Report recommends Territory's kangaroo culling methods continue as usual

| Claire Fenwicke
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An eastern grey kangaroo.

An independent review found the Territory’s kangaroo culling program compiled with national standards. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

An independent animal welfare assessment of the ACT’s kangaroo culling program has recommended it continue unchanged.

Carried out by Ecotone Wildlife, the review found the national code of practice (COP) for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for non-commercial purposes was adhered to in all instances when culling was observed over three nights in June at the Mulanggari Grasslands Nature Reserve, The Pinnacle Nature Reserve and Red Hill Nature Reserve.

During the review 146 kangaroos were shot, with only 5 per cent missed, non-fatally wounded or not “rendered immediately insensible” by the initial shot.

“In both instances of non-fatal wounding, any attempt to shoot other animals was ceased and considerable time and effort was dedicated to locating the wounded animals,” the report noted.

“Shooting only resumed once all reasonable efforts had been made.”

The COP specifies only head shots can be taken at stationary animals – both adult and juvenile young-at-foot.

Pouches of shot females then must be checked for live young and, if detected, they can be euthanised with either a blow to the head or decapitation.

57 joeys discovered during the review were euthanised using blunt force trauma, with no decapitation used. One semi-independent joey escaped before it could be killed.

“This occurred when the pouch young associated with a dead adult female could not be captured and was lost from vision due to vegetation and terrain,” the report noted.

“This rare event highlights the importance of approaching shot adult female kangaroos quietly, and ensuring any pouch young are identified and firmly restrained before shot adult females are moved.”

The percentage of kangaroos “rendered immediately insensible” was 95 per cent, which the report noted was higher than for most published studies of wildlife shooting.

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ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna Bren Burkevics said Canberrans should feel reassured that animal welfare standards were being met as part of the conservation program.

“The outcome of the report reflects the significant planning, training, professionalism and operational discipline that is delivered by conservation officers as part of a complex program where there are a significant number of variables that influence program delivery,” he said.

“The report notes the challenges that exist with night-time shooting methods and has reaffirmed the importance of exercising caution when approaching culled female kangaroos for pouch young.”

Conservation officers undertake training each year to be part of the kangaroo management program.

Mr Burkevics pointed out the ACT was the only jurisdiction that restricted culling of female kangaroos to a specific time of year to reduce the risk of orphaning joeys.

“With the ACT entering into another El Nino and the likelihood of hot and dry conditions likely, the ongoing management of the ACT’s kangaroos will be critically important to ensure they don’t starve or overgraze the ACT’s natural temperature grasslands which are critical endangered and home to many threatened species,” he said.

A five-year review of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo Controlled Native Species Management Plan examining all management techniques for the species, including fencing and fertility control, has been contracted.

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Animal welfare advocates haven’t been left feeling reassured in the wake of the review.

Save Canberra’s Kangaroos (SCK) was cynical about the assessment, stating shooters would have known they were being observed and would have been “on their best behaviour”.

“Eyewitnesses to the ACT’s kangaroo slaughter for the last 12 years have reported frequent breaches of the code of practice,” a statement read.

“The code states that where the conditions raise doubts about achieving a sudden and humane death, shooting must not be attempted. Yet witnesses repeatedly report shooting occurring in high winds of up to 45 km/h, heavy rain, and fog – all of which pretty much guarantee a high wounding rate.”

SCK stated that, regardless of following the COP, the killing of “sentient beings” was hard to justify, no matter the reasons.

The Canberra Liberals have made an election promise to stop kangaroo culling until another independent review is carried out.

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Motojohnno612:20 pm 20 Dec 23

This so-called animal welfare assessment, which was actually an audit over 3 nights assessing shooter performance against the national code of conduct for the non-commercial killing of kangaroos and wallabies, may have concluded that requirements were met.
This is not the same as ‘recommending that the kangaroo cull continue unchanged.’ It simply means that kangaroos were shot at and killed in the majority of instances (95%) with a single shot to the head and that pouch joeys were clobbered over the head and ticked off as dead before being discarded as rubbish.
This audit has nothing to do with the morality of treating defenseless native animals in their habitat with such cruelty, makes no assessment as to the need or lack of need to kill in the first place and is not an endorsement of the ACT Government’s annual kangaroo cull.

The Greens really have betrayed everything their core constituency values.

Doubtless you know this by being a member of their core constituency, in which case you could hardly blame them.

Can the council please cull all the damn possums destroying suburban roofs and chewing up the shrubbery?

What are our wildlife meant to do when we replace their habitat with our developments!

If the government is arguing that this 5% is consistent across ALL nights of killing on ALL reserves since its annual slaughter began, it means that around 1600 kangaroos have suffered wounding before they died

Cue the kangaroo nutters to deny any facts or evidence that doesn’t fit their agenda.

Cue the kangaroo haters who deny the bleeding obvious that kangaroos have evolved over 30 million years to live in harmony with the environment. If you agree with the ACT Government’s agenda then you reject the CSIRO Report which has debunked the Government’s science.

Rubbish chook, rats have also lived here for 30 million years but it is the fact that humans are responsible for their exponential growth. Similarly if we didn’t protect Roos from bushfires, droughts and dingos there would not be so many of them.

Yeah, until 50,000 years ago when we killed all the megafauna predators.
Dingoes don’t cut it for preventing Malthusian collapses, and humans? We should be eating roo over beef, but we aren’t.

“Environmental harmony” is a bad argument when we’re currently in the Anthropocene, and there isn’t any going back.

The most effective and humane approach to control fast breeding species such as rats and humans is fertility control.

Humans have replaced dingoes as the main predators. Humans still have time to stop the damage we have done. I choose to live in hope

Yeah… Not main predators, that’s my complaint, main control on population though? It’s why the chain of consideration is relevant to OP.
The waste is more a crime.

But, on a detail, there’s no stopping what we’ve done. There might be mitigation we can do in 20 years once monied interests finally weigh “dissatisfaction” against “profit”, but stopping by itself is no atonement.

The thing I hope for, is we justify our selfishness to Gaia by getting off this rock, no longer eggs all one basket.

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