21 May 2024

Why we are driving out kangaroos?

| Sally Hopman
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Kangaroo in the street

Too close to home. Sadly kangaroos in Canberra’s streets are now more common than not. Photo: Supplied.

It’s that Canberra story that never goes away. Like roundabouts, those crinkle-cut chips, and why locals get cranky when newspapers have the word Canberra in the headline when they mean Government.

Kangaroos. Used to be that if you drove slower than normal around the known danger times, dawn and dusk, you’d be OK. Or if you spent a lot of money on one of those things you stick to the front of your car that emits a sound only those animals hear which is supposed to scare them off the road.

Now they’re everywhere. Again, no reason for it when you consider all the green pick in the bush following the rain – except the standard one, that our lives, homes, parks and selves, have taken over their world.

READ ALSO You don’t need to call Information to hear the days of phone books are numbered

When you live out of town, it was once clear which bits of road they were more likely to jump out at you, where you should slow down, and where you were reasonably safe to speed up again.

Has anyone else noticed how so many more of them are around now? As people start talking culls again, or a car manufacturer boasts about some whizz-bang warning mechanism they’ll be testing in Canberra soon, surely they’re missing the point.

We are where they used to be. Free as, well, really big birds.

So the debate fires up again with that word that divides Canberrans. Cull.

Shooting any animal, unless it is in immeasurable pain, is abhorrent – but so is hitting them full on and seeing the look on their face as they bounce off your car.

READ ALSO Review commends ‘extremely impressive’ kangaroo cull program to protect threatened species

One memory that will never leave was when I was driving to work early one morning and, coming round the corner, I saw a bloke standing in the middle of the road. He was next to a young roo that had its head up but every other part of it was collapsed in a heap.

The look on the bloke’s face said it all. He was waiting for me to pass so he could put the animal out of its misery. I heard the shot as I rounded the next corner.

One year I hit two roos in almost as many months. Both times I was on a road I knew so well I could have built it. Both times I had one of those noise emitter thingies perched on the front of the car, both times I even remembered not to swerve or brake, like they tell you, but both times I hit the animal. The first time I killed it. The second time I hit it and it lamely hopped off into the bush. We spent about an hour looking for it but couldn’t find it. Neither could the wildlife rescue folk who came out later.

Good citizens, be they farmers, teachers (or both), respect animals and want only the best for them. If they are starving and coming closer to human populated areas, we all suffer.

Shooting them? Making them infertile? Moving them on? Who knows?

The only thing clear in this mind is the look on the animal’s face and the feeling in the human’s heart, when it all gets too close to home.

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I see the Riot Act is appealing to the lowest ilk of humanity – the bogan.
The hate and violence articulated in the comments against a peaceful and unique animal is alarming and shameful
This sort of behaviour also harms our society as a whole as any institutionalised violence violates society as a whole

I see the usual suspects are making their hate-filled moronic comments about our precious wildlife. None of which is based on reality or truth. Instead it is just kill, kill, kill.

Motojohnno6110:46 pm 19 May 24

Is this article – with it’s photo-shopped image – supposed to be tongue in cheek???

We should create a fund to which roo lovers and other like minded individuals can contribute in order to make themselves feel that they are doing their bit to assist with the plight of these poor creatures. There are numerous examples of such funds for all manner of causes, some may no doubt even be worthy ones. Watch daytime television for an hour, any day, any channel.

Collected moneys can then be used to assist with the cost of repairs for those poor unfortunates whose cars are damaged in altercations with these animals which, despite years of evidence to the contrary, seem to firmly believe that they can outstare a pair of oncoming headlights. Obviously evolution is a long-term thing cos kangaroos are still atrocious at playing chicken!

More often than not, these critters leap out from behind roadside foliage, in the dark, no lights, no turn signals, nothing and without warning, into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Mayhem ensues!

Immediately after the accident, if they are still mobile, and unbelievably they quite often are, these thoughtless, heartless marsupials without fail, leave the scene of the accident without checking on the condition of the occupants of the other vehicle. The roos are never insured. Not even third party insurance to cover the cost of personal injury, let alone third party property insurance.

The unfortunate driver is left to literally pick up the pieces, pull themselves together and stump-up for the cost of repairs to their vehicle or, if the damage is bad enough, and it often is, claim on their comprehensive insurance and pay an extortionate excess before their insurance company will pay for repairs. And they can be confident in the knowledge that they will be paying increased insurance premiums for the next three or four years. All thanks to a kangaroo.

And pity the motorcyclist who has such an altercation.

We need to remove all the human and animal restricting fences, remove all the cameras and just live with them. Then we can get rid of half the suspension and brake wearing speed humps, and the revenue raising cameras everywhere as people will learn to be more sensible and drive slower. More roo signs, less cameras and fences. Yes they will get hit by cars, but less will die compared to culls. We will have less fire hazards, a more in touch with nature lifestyle(as we did) and more sensible drivers. Keep people on their toes, and less people will get hit too.

More people, less wildlife

“Why we are driving out kangaroos?” Who wrote this headline?!

Don Fletcher3:06 pm 19 May 24

Sally Hopman, there is a huge amount of factual info about Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the ACT at https://www.environment.act.gov.au/nature-conservation/wildlife-management/eastern-grey-kangaroos

According to material on there, before Myxo suppressed rabbits on the Limestone Plains in the early 1950s, all kinds of animals that made holes in rabbit proof fences (Wombats, Echidnas and Kangaroos) were rigorously suppressed and had become extremely sparse. In the case of Eastern Grey Kangaroos there were said to be none east of the Murrumbidgee where Canberra is. After Myxo caused landholders to relax about rabbits, kangaroos began to increase, but even so, we know in 1963 there were still none in the area that is now Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve. The first three appeared that year. And in 1975 there were none on Mt Taylor. Both are very hard to believe now!

The development of roads and suburbs slowed the population recovery so the urban kangaroo population is still recovering, filling in new areas in the city, eg Weston Park had none until ~20 years ago. And Jerra Wetlands now has a few but clearly it will have more in future. Wallaroos (the other species of ACT kangaroo) are on a similar trajectory but well behind Eastern Greys. Wallaroos still have not reached all the nature reserves with suitable habitat. Expansion of Eastern Greys into new open space areas of Canberra causes population increase. But as of recent years, there is now a process starting to act in the opposite direction, because some open spaces that are occupied by kangaroos are being converted to housing, and this infill will continue into the future, which will act to reduce the urban kangaroo population or slow its increase. It is hard to know if the rate of motor collisions, per car, with kangaroos, will continue to increase or whether it has started to plateau.

There is no easy money for preventative measures such as road lighting and road fencing (both are effective and can be retro-fitted), because from a road safety viewpoint, kangaroo-vehicle collisions are not seen as much of a problem compared to the kinds of road incidents that result in a high rate of severe medical affects such as quadriplegia, so e.g. even ‘rear enders’ at traffic lights are regarded as a worse problem than kangaroos. I’ve been told there is evidence that leaving carcasses on roadsides changes driver behaviour enough to reduce the rate of collisions. It would be interesting to find out whether Canberrans would tolerate carcasses being left on roadsides in order to reduce the risk to kangaroos and people.

Something that may or may not be on the web page is that research has shown that the ultrasonic devices don’t emit any more ultrasonic noise than a car, (so a meter on the roadside cant detect whether the car has one or not) and if they did emit the signal, there is no evidence that kangaroos can hear it well enough to respond to it in the way intended. However paradoxically, drivers who fit them have fewer collisions. The explanation is that those drivers watch the animals for a response to the signal and in so doing, are adopting the behaviours that reduce their risk, i.e. slowing down and scanning the sides of the road as well as the centre.

Not everyone lives near public transport or can ride a bike to work. Some of us have to drive and the car is the second most expensive thing you buy after a house, so you depend on it. A kangaroo can easily take you out, even if you are super alert. Your car gets you to work. Work means food and the ability to provide a roof over your head.
Kangaroos are too numerous. My bullbar and spotties gives me a chance

Kangaroos live in our world. Our actions determine how they live, because we run things. If we don’t control their access to food, we end up killing them with cars or by some controlled method, otherwise they expand to eat the available food, as they have done for millions of years. The more we are willing to spend, the gentler can be our control
of their numbers

We live in a CITY but still insist on sharing it with the wildlife… most of whom were NOT here before!

Your allowed to brake, just don’t swerve.

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