We're excited to launch this years World Kangaroo Day, October 24th 2023. The theme is 'Co-existing with Kangaroos’. We once again are pleased to welcome our ambassador, Australian cricket legend and proud Kamilaroi man, Jason 'Dizzy' Gillespie. Let's get together across the world to start preparing fun and ground breaking activities to celebrate kangaroos. (Kangaroos Alive)
Victorian Kangaroos need your signature on this petition! They have been decimated by bushfires and the Victorian Government estimates of numbers are way out. The Mornington Peninsula contains a landlocked group of grey kangaroos that are menaced by several processes, including increased development, traffic, fencing, shooting, and the so-called Kangaroo Harvest Program (KHP). These animals need our help and protection. The petition calls upon the Victorian Government to suspend its 'harvest' program. See below.
Legislative Council E-Petitions https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/council/petitions/electronic-petitions/view-e-petitions/details/12/320
Click here to sign
The Petition of certain citizens of the State of Victoria draws to the attention of the Legislative Council that kangaroos culled through the Kangaroo Harvest Program (KHP) and the Authority to Control Wildlife (ATCW) has been a contentious issue for a long time in the Mornington Peninsula community. The Victorian Government appear to be over-inflating kangaroo numbers as their count excludes large parts of the state’s landscapes, meaning that kangaroo numbers could be grossly overestimated.
During the black summer bushfires of 2020, approximately 3 billion wildlife were killed, injured or displaced. The Victorian Government estimated that in 2020, the kangaroo population increased by 40 per cent, which macropod experts claim is not scientifically possible. Kangaroo numbers based on ATCW permits highlight that the counting of kangaroos for the KHP is not based on science. Kangaroos in the Mornington Peninsula are under threat from increased development, traffic, fencing, shooting and now from the KHP.
The Mornington Peninsula is an isolated and landlocked area and is home to the Eastern Grey Kangaroo population. Threatened species were once common and perceived as pests and we hope to ensure that kangaroos in Victoria, especially in the Mornington Peninsula, do not become threatened.
The petitioners therefore request that the Legislative Council call on the Government to suspend the 2021 Kangaroo Harvest Program (KHP), apply improved and accurate methods of counting kangaroos and move the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council out of the KHP Gippsland zone and place it in the Metropolitan Melbourne zone.
Over the past year, the Center for a Humane Economy worked closely with United States Representatives Salud Carbajal, D-Calif., and Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., to formulate legislation to ban the trade in kangaroo-sourced products into the United States. When the “Kangaroo Protection Act” was introduced into Congress on February 9, 2021, word spread quickly throughout Australia by way of the press (ABC, Leader, The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald) and social media, for which we have many organizations to thank.
California already bans the trade in kangaroo products, and the Center is working to ensure that law is enforced. The effort to extend that ban to all parts of the United States can have a transformative effect and dry up one of the world’s most important markets for these products (principally, football boots). As we expected, the industries that profit from kangaroo killing understand the potential impact of this bill on their bottom line and have already started to aggressively fight back.
The Kangaroo Protection Act would:
· Make it illegal to bring any kangaroo body part into the United States for commercial purposes, with an intent to sell or introduce it into interstate commerce.
· Direct the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, in consultation with other agencies, to issue regulations to carry out the Act and enforce its provisions.
· Allow citizens to bring actions in federal court to enforce the Act.
· Provide for criminal penalties of up to one year in jail and a $10,000 fine for each violation of the Act, and civil penalties of up to $10,000 per violation.
· Allow forfeiture of any kangaroo or kangaroo products in the possession of violators.
By banning the importation of kangaroo products into the United States, we hope to stem the killing of more than two million of these iconic marsupials each year. But first we must show members of Congress that a global coalition of advocates, scientists and leading animal protection organizations in Australia supports the aims of this proposed legislation. We need your support.
If you haven’t seen it, our short film, produced by filmmakers Gavin Polone and Derek Ambrosi, tells a compelling story in just 60 seconds of how a kangaroo becomes a product for purchase in countries like the United States.
Our ask: Will you please sign the statement [see below] of support for H.R. 917, The Kangaroo Protection Act? We would be grateful for your partnership in this endeavor to create sweeping change. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us.
Jennifer Skiff Mitchell Fox
Perth, Australia Director of Advocacy
Statement of Support example, which you can just send email containing the information,
Support for the United States Kangaroo Protection Act
We support the purpose of H.R. 917, the Kangaroo Protection Act, introduced by Representatives Salud Carbajal and Brian Fitzpatrick into the United States House of Representatives in February 2021. The Center for a Humane Economy / Animal Wellness Action has permission to publicize our support of the bill to members of Congress, on its websites and social media channels, and in campaign materials.
Signed by: _________________________________________________
Please complete and return (scanned or photographed) to Mitchell Fox [email protected]. Or you can simply send us an email containing the information above.
Update: Subsequent to the bush fires, both the South Australian and Victorian governments have suspended kangaroo harvest in their respective states. That's what it took to get their attention. Here is a letter from past president of Australian Wildlife Protection Council requesting this. To: [email protected]
I would like to wish you a happy new year to you, your family and staff.
Like all Australian's and people around the world my heart goes out (and made a number of small donations) to those effected by these unprecedented fires burning across the country for months now.
In the past week more information is coming out about the plight of our wildlife with an estimated 450,000 plus wildlife effected. As a wildlife rescuer I understand that the priority is for recovery, treatment and food drops for wildlife is essential at this point in time, with the knowledge that these fires are still continuing.
As the state government has rightly so taking actions to support people and rebuild communities effected, I would like to know what actions the government is taking to access the damage to wildlife species recovery and protection to ensure their survival in the future.
In particular will the government put an immediate suspension on the kangaroo pet food harvest industry in fire effected regions as well as not having a duck hunting season not only due to these fires but ongoing drought conditions?
Wildlife Carer, Victoria
Michelle Thomson, of Animalia, is hosting two wildlife care workshops with Linda "Indi" Dennis: one is on kangaroos and the other is on wombats. The workshops teach how to care for Kangaroos, Wallabies, and other Macropods and for wombats. Linda "Indi" Dennis is a well known wildlife carer,educator and advocate for our wildlife. By the way, Animalia, which operates on a shoestring, has advance-funded this workshop and now a major funding source has fallen through. The Animal Shelter may have to close if no fresh funds come in; the situation is actually desperate. Please consider donating to Animalia if you cannot attend the workshop. There are more and more injured animals as human population expands, and not enough qualified carers. Workshops that actually train new carers are as rare as hens' teeth. Animalia takes this initiative time and time again. Please help keep this little ark afloat.
Join Animalia Wildlife shelter for a day of training on Macropods
On Saturday 27 October 2018 at 9:00am at Tyabb Community Hall, 1535 Frankston Flinders Rd., Tyabb, Victoria, 3913.
Join Animalia Wildlife shelter for a day of training on Wombats
On Sunday the 28th of October there will be a wombat workshop. Join Animalia Wildlife shelter and Linda "Indi" Dennis for a days training for wildlife carers,rescuers and environmentalists on Wombats, at Tyabb Community Hall, 1535 Frankston Flinders Rd., Tyabb, Victoria, 3913.
The issues facing kangaroos on the Peninsula, state and countrywide are serious and it is vital we get the word out to the public. We can offer a few ways for concerned citizens to get involved and express their opinions to be a voice for wildlife.
Firstly, the Authority to Control Wildlife (cull) permit system is currently under review. The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) have opened up submissions to the public, submissions close on June 29th 2018. The review discussion paper (https://engage.vic.gov.au/download_file/8625/1422 and https://engage.vic.gov.au/application/files/8315/2481/0498/ATCW_Review_Discussion_Paper-FINAL.pdf) is over 30 pages and may be overwhelming to some, especially if people feel they don't have sufficient background knowledge. The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) and other wildlife interest groups have been working on 'cheat sheets', background information and a media release to help members of the public with their individual submissions and getting the word out about the review and other worrying proposals. The AWPC will have a finalised information document by Monday 11th June 2018, please contact the AWPC for a copy, it will help with your submissions.
1. We encourage everyone who cares about the plight of wildlife to make an individual submission. Submissions are made online here: https://engage.vic.gov.au/atcwreview
DELWP's 'Idea' to ban the rescue and rehab of 'over abundant species'
On page 31 of the ATCW review discussion paper it states the following regarding an idea 'someone in the community' had about banning the rescue and rehabilitation of 'over abundant' species:
'Not allowing the rehabilitation of Eastern Grey Kangaroos or other overabundant species.
Wildlife shelters and foster carers invest significant time and resources rehabilitating sick, injured and orphaned Eastern Grey Kangaroos. Given that the species is overabundant in many areas and is the species that the majority of ATCWs are issued for, some members of the community have suggested that the species should not be able to be rehabilitated under the wildlife shelter system. A restriction on rehabilitating Eastern Grey Kangaroos has been in place in the ACT for many years, as the species is overabundant in the territory and is subject to significant control activities to protect property and biodiversity values. While this is outside the scope of the ATCW review, it may be considered in future reviews of the wildlife shelter system, as it may save significant shelter resources and reduce the impact of the species on landholders. In this context, it may also be appropriate to consider whether the rehabilitation of unprotected wildlife, such as wombats, cockatoos or possums, should be disallowed or restricted to areas where such wildlife is not over-abundant (e.g. wombats found outside the parishes where the unprotection order applies)'
Whilst DELWP have distanced themselves from admitting they are seriously considering such a ban, they did publish the 'idea' on the discussion paper, they have mentioned such plans to wildlife shelters in the past and so it is very important that we express our strong outrage at such a prospect.
2. Wildlife groups have put together a press release to get the word out about the 'ban idea' in the media (attached), please feel free to use it and write letters to the editors, contact your local MPs, papers and make posts on social media.
The Truth about Funding
Not only is it untrue to say the money could be better spent elsewhere, it is misleading and suggests that wildlife rescue and rehab is funded by the state government. Wildlife shelters across the state share a measly $170,000 in grant funding in 2018. If wildlife shelter applicants are successful the grant is capped at $2000 per shelter per year, including a maximum of $1000 on food. So that is just $2000 per year to rescue, rehab and raise sick, injured and orphaned wildlife. The state government gives NO other funding to wildlife or wildlife volunteers. This includes looking after burnt animals from prescribed burns!
The grant program closed in Feb 2018 and we only heard back today (June 2018) whether we were successful or not. Not all shelters are given a yearly grant. Those who miss out continue to fully self fund or fundraise for their wildlife shelters.
This woefully inadequate amount of funding is further put into perspective when you consider the recent CSIRO research paper (attached) which estimates the true cost of rescue and rehab of wildlife to be $6 billion nationally. Also considering the Daniel Andrew's government is set to give the AFL $225 million to upgrade a football stadium, it is ridiculous to suggest that $170k shared to a lucky few statewide be better spent elsewhere!
Numbers of Kangaroos and 'Over abundant' Species
DELWP state that some species are 'over abundant' but have no real data on numbers. For e.g the yearly kangaroo count contracted out by DELWP ran for only 2 weeks and didn't count in all regions e.g. some areas of East Gippsland were not counted. They counted mainly from the air. We have attached an interesting article written by Peter Hylands (Creative Cowboy) that tells the truth about the government numbers.
It is also worth noting that the number of animals culled every year is published by DELWP (attached) the list of species and numbers are quite shocking. DELWP admit that they don't require ATCW (cull) permit holders to submit returns of the numbers of animals that are culled. We know that this means the actual numbers of wildlife being culled is probably many more than they are permitted to kill. So it begs the question of how accurate DELWP's 'data' is on numbers culled and whether this department is at all concerned about the accuracy of the data they publish. Why should be trust the kangaroo numbers from a 2 week aerial survey are correct when we know they publish incorrect cull numbers for the public to see?
3. Please share this information far and wide and feel free to contact the AWPC or other wildlife groups for more information. Contact the minister (lily.d’[email protected]) and the secretary of DELWP ([email protected]) and express your concerns, tell your friends and family, get it out to the media, discuss it with your local vet and get them on board.
Please have a voice on these important issues. If we don't protect habitat and wildlife we will damage the environment for the generations to come.
Eve Kelly, Secretary
Australian Wildlife Protection Council Inc.
Greensbush Association is screening the new international film about Kangaroos in Australia at 5.30pm May 25th at Main Ridge Community Hall, Main Creek Road, Main Ridge, (Mornington Peninsular) Victoria. This film has been screened and reviewed widely around the world to stunned reviews and I have not found any negative ones. It is not so well known in Australia, of course, because it challenges what governments and corporate press have to say about kangaroos. The Association screening this film is named after Greensbush Mornington Peninsular National Park, which is one of few places where kangaroos might now dwell in comparative safety, were it not for people on neighboring properties who treat them like pests and the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning which encourages this redneck approach to wildlife. Victorians will be concerned to hear that this film tells how the West Australian Commercial Kangaroo Meat industry is running out of kangaroos and planning to open up in Victoria. Of course the grubby Victorian Government is looking for any excuse to get rid of our wildlife. Turn up to this film-screening and maybe you can network with fellow wildlife warriors. The kangaroos need all the help they can get. If you doubt this, check the film out. Donations to cover the cost of the film and venue hire. All welcome! Map to venue at end of article. You can hire this film, host a screening, from kangaroothemovie.com.
"Essentially, the film examines how the roo industry - both for meat and skin - has stealthily and very profitably capitalised on two words - “pest” and “plague” - to run itself in a chaotic, slipshod, unhygienic, inhumane and seriously under-regulated fashion. We are introduced to whistle-blowers, activists and politicians who are advocating not so much for revolution as transparency, while farmers and industry reps are also given their say.
The film does have a point of view, though, and a strong one, and will doubtless cause some consternation among those who don’t want their ways challenged. The thing that shines through, however, is the integrity of the McIntyres: they didn’t set out to challenge an industry, they simply learned about it, and what they learned, we all, as Australians who love Skippy, need to know." ("Nightlife," http://www.abc.net.au/radio/programs/nightlife/cj/9546930)
"To avoid a nonstop focus on bloodshed, “Kangaroo” occasionally offers up images of the outback and drone footage of wild animals in their habitats. Those can be breathtaking. Yet the filmmakers, to their credit, don’t flinch from stomach-turning sights. This film isn’t always pretty, but its message is necessary." (New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/movies/kangaroo-a-love-hate-story-review.html)
"Bush heritage makes some rather big assertions about the impact of kangaroos at their Scottdale reserve and the impacts this wildlife species is having on the biodiversity there. If Bush Heritage is serious about their claims then they need to be a little more transparent," writes Craig Thomson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
"Bush Heritage Australia has forfeited the inheritance of a 350-acre property near Bega and lost numerous donors as they face backlash from a planned kangaroo cull at Scottsdale Reserve, south of Canberra. Regular supporters of the non-profit organisation have pulled donations following reports of a cull, with one referring to the organisation as "hopeless frauds". Bush Heritage aims to "conserve biodiversity" at properties either purchased or donated across Australia." http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/bush-heritage-australia-faces-backlash-after-kangaroo-culling-claims-20160708-gq1fpa.html
They can start by answering and providing information to the following questions
- When do they class a wildlife species as being over abundant?
- What is a sustainable kangaroo population at Scottdale Reserve?
- What is the roos' population current range in and around their reserve?
- Are there any neighbouring or local land uses or management practices that would see kangaroos returning to Scottdale reserve more often and in greater number?
- How many kangaroos are on the reserve day in and out?
- Has there been any scientific data of kangaroo starvation cases at Scottdale reserve or regionally before?
- While it is hard to watch an animal starve to death, it is a common condition of the natural world, in particular with drought and over abundant populations. So why do Bush Heritage feel the need to interject in a natural process, which in itself could have far bigger ecological problems?
- What is the science and guidelines being implemented by Bush heritage?
- Who are the independent experts being engaged by Bush Heritage?
- What humane methods are being developed?
- What scientific evidence can Bush Heritage provide that kangaroos are having a detrimental effect on other species?
- Has all weed habitat changing plants like serrated tussock grass been removed from Scottdale reserve and regionally?
- Do Bush heritage conduct any fuel reduction burns at Scottdale reserve?
- Is Scottdale reserve free of pest animals such as rabbits?
We hear explanations of why there are too many and debate what control measures should be taken. What is very rarely discussed is what is a sustainable population size, the roos ecological benefits and social structure. In a race to demonise our national icon for commercial vested interest or in this case a so called natural balance. The critical point missed is the roo social structure. Large alpha males control breeding within the mobs. When shooting takes place which animals are shot first? Well you can very confidently say it would be the roos who control the social structures within the mobs.
So the question about controlling kangaroos should be whether or not a bias against kangaroos prevents us from understanding their biology, ecology and social structures? Has this led to poor management practices, where the preferential killing of large males has possibly caused early breeding of youngsters, increasing numbers in some cases? (See Sheila Newman, "Roo scientists admit industry stimulates roo population growth whilst calling roos pests".)
This scientific submission on commercial kangaroo management was closely based on the literature from the industry, which proved to be a revelation in what it actually admitted about its manipulation of kangaroo population numbers. Basically, the very small number of scientists dominating the academic literature and the industry have stated (variously) that the industry artificially stimulates population growth rebound beyond normal numbers in targeted populations of kangaroos; that they then justify their industry and culls on the basis that the animals are too populous and a pest; that the Australian public would not allow the industry to continue if they did not swallow the line that kangaroos are a pest; that although the industry and population culls are justified in order to prevent damage to grasslands and erosion by overgrazing, this is in fact false, and the example is given of kangaroos even at 50 per square km making almost no impact on the land, whereas the sheep that the industry is purportedly saving the land for, devastate it. This is my second article on kangaroo science (see the other one here) and I did not go into it expecting to find such blatant snake oil passing for research among a very small cognoscenti, but here it is. I’m was surprised as you will be. Also, one final word, even if the industry is correct in saying that it artificially boosts kangaroo numbers in order to have enough kangaroos to ‘harvest’, as I say at the end, that does not apply to all populations and that does not mean that the strategy is not causing population crashes and demographic anomalies, for reasons that I raise in this article. If you think there are fewer kangaroos around, you may well be right and have a better idea than the industry itself. (This researched article by evolutionary sociologist Sheila Newman  was originally submitted to the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 ([email protected]) on behalf of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council on 7 October 2017.)
IS THE COMMERCIAL KANGAROO INDUSTRY ACTUALLY FARMING KANGAROOS AND AT HIGHER DENSITY THAN NATURAL?
More demographic Brakes: Sexual Segregation/Gender pathways
What are the consequences of loss of sex-specific territory?
How far do kangaroos migrate? 9
ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE MITIGATION & ROO DENSITY: THEORY & EXPERIMENT
KANGAROO WELFARE PROPOSAL THAT WOULD ALSO REGULATE FERTILITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH CARRYING CAPACITY:
Proposal of wider definition of welfare
Refugia to be permanent and extended to harbour permanent stable populations
Public attitudes led by the industry and its scientists
Is contempt for kangaroos necessary for the commercial industry to continue business as usual?
IS THE COMMERCIAL KANGAROO INDUSTRY ACTUALLY FARMING KANGAROOS AND AT HIGHER DENSITY THAN NATURAL?
The literature indicates an understanding among scientists researching in the industry, that these animals are artificially kept by hunting at greater numbers than they would be naturally, in order to both offset the impact of commercial hunting and to keep it going. The numbers are being manipulated upwards, and then the alleged spontaneous overcrowding  is being used to justify arguments for the need for a commercial industry and damage mitigation culling.  If the calculations of the program of artificial ‘management’ of kangaroo populations are correct in estimating kangaroo populations too numerous, then the management amounts to a form of farming, which is preventing kangaroos from exercising normal patterns of social organisation that would limit fertility opportunities.
“Caughley (1976, 1977) outlined the principles of wildlife harvesting. To harvest a sustained yield from a population at steady density, it must first be manipulated in some way to promote its rate of increase (e.g. reduce it below its ecological carrying capacity or supplement its resources). The second of the four theoretical principles he identified was that: “Harvesting theory rests upon populations being regulated by some combination of density-dependent reproduction and mortality. This has been described well for a number of large mammals (Fowler 1987). Harvest mortality is seen as being compensated to some extent by lowered natural mortality rates and increased fecundity rates.” (Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, (1999), “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia.” 
“Even as a pest, however, kangaroos are still a resource, and they can only be that while they remain numerous, a necessity which puts an economic value on their conservation.” (Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, (1999), “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,”pp.38-39. ) 
The notion that commercial hunting is causing increases in kangaroo populations has also been articulated in an objective evaluation:
The percentage change in the population (Appendix figure b) was plotted against the percentage of the population harvested. This was a gross test of whether the harvest was regulating growth in the population. In fact, if anything, there tended to be a positive relationship between harvest rate and rate of increase, which could be interpreted to indicate that culling at recent/present levels enhances the growth rate of the population.
This result does not necessarily mean that harvesting has a causal effect on population increase. However, harvesting does mimic some of the conditions produced by natural perturbations, such as die-off of males in drought, from which the kangaroo population is adapted to recover quickly by enhancing its rate of increase. (Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher) 
If real kangaroo numbers are being manipulated upwards by commercial management practices, then the commercial hunting industry will not welcome my observations about how kangaroo populations may spontaneously reduce their fertility, in the absence of shooting. These observations are more likely to serve the kangaroo conservation, animal welfare, and tourism concerns.
According to predator-prey theory, predators adapt to prey numbers. Would the kangaroo harvesting industry consider this adaptation, rather than continuing to farm? Like so many industries, it seems to want more growth, so more kangaroos and more territory: The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 indicates plans to increase the commercial kangaroo meat catchment area by formally extending it  and by getting more farmers to work for it by shooting kangaroos on their property, through a DEWNR regional staff program. 
The population model and assumptions in the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 seem to have a number of theoretical flaws and biases, some of which at least have been pointed out in recent research.
There seems to be an underlying assumption in the population model used (exclusively predator/prey biomass dependent)  that all the kangaroo species under consideration breed to the maximum (W.D. Hamilton (1964)) unless prevented from doing so by natural catastrophe, big predators and human culls for commercial or other reasons. Whilst Hamilton’s rules for inclusive fitness and Dawkins’ theory on selfish genes are very important, they should not cause a failure to investigate countervailing forces to genes seeking maximum reproduction.
Gordon Grigg (1998) has even asserted that, since the creation of the dingo proof fence, the South Australian kangaroo population would have grown 40% bigger, were it not for human culling.  Pople, Grigg (2000)  later decided that dingos ‘regulated’ kangaroos, rather than ‘limited’ them. However the exclusive model of a predator/prey biomass dependent kangaroo population did not permit the consideration of other factors regulating kangaroo populations.
The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 has also asserted that European land-use would have increased the amount of water available to kangaroos, and therefore the number of kangaroos. This has been questioned on grounds that feral animals do, but kangaroos don’t, rely on artificially created water sources.  European land-use may really have destroyed as many or more water sources for kangaroos as it has theoretically created. In South Australia sheep-grazing and rabbits have desertified parts of the state.  Desertification and competition for habitat with sheep and cattle and human activity has decreased the habitat available for kangaroos.
Outside the predator/prey model, countervailing forces to reproductive urges exist in the subtleties of endogamy (breeding within a local population) and exogamy (incest avoidance)  which also limit fertility opportunities, including, in some species, sexual maturation.  For instance, in order to attempt to breed, young male kangaroos need to leave their natal group because there is only room for one dominant male breeder and he monopolises all the females unless another mature male successfully challenges him. The dispersing young male may not find a group within his range of migration that has available females or he may fail to successfully compete for them.
Aspects of cooperative breeding may be present in kangaroos and delay sexual maturation in both males and females. This could explain some variations in breeding ages in different populations and environmental circumstances.  These should limit fertility opportunities in a natural ecology, i.e. one not impacted by the commercial management considerations noted above or by other major disorganising human impact, such as new roads, fences, and suburbs.
My theory is that undisturbed local populations respond to environmental cues like rainfall and soil richness by a variation in genetic algorithms for fertility. Sexual maturation and pairing is limited by the availability of territory. In humans these algorithms translate into kinship and marriage rules that vary in degree according to rainfall and other environmental cues.  In humans, the regulating effects of endogamy are part of mainstream French demographic theory  but have little profile in the Anglosphere. Extreme examples of this exist in humans – for instance royal dynasties - and other species – for instance naked mole-rats - and have the effect of consolidating territory and restricting enlargement of the community sharing that territory. 
But we have abundant examples demonstrating that, because of hunting and culling, more fertility opportunities are being created for younger, smaller animals
“Commercial harvesting may affect the demography (e.g. size, growth, distribution and birth and death rates) of harvested kangaroo populations by selecting the larger kangaroos, which tend to be the older males (Allendorf et al. 2008). Commercially harvested populations may have a lower average age compared to that of unharvested populations. The average size of kangaroos in harvested populations may be lower, and populations contain a higher proportion of young animals than unharvested populations, but these differences are lessened during drought when older animals are lost from unharvested populations (Pople 1996).The sex bias (i.e. the percentage of harvested kangaroos that are male) has increased from 60-70% male to 92-97% male for red and western grey kangaroos (DEWNR 2017). The increase in sex-bias is due, in part, to some meat processing plants only accepting male carcasses. The sex bias of the euro harvest has historically been higher due to the small size of female euros, but the sex-bias has also increased from 75-95% male to 99% male (DEWNR 2017).” (South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022) 
Massive bias for shooting large males leaves remaining, smaller males, without the suppression of sexual maturation (possibly) or sexual behaviour (definitely) that those large competitive mature males would have caused. The remaining smaller males do not need to disperse from their natal group to breed. The natal groups may be so fragmented that most adult relatives have disappeared and the remaining young does and bucks may lack the normal incest avoidance due to disturbance of Westermarck relationships.  It is also possible that the presence of mature related males and females may delay sexual maturity or behaviour in female kangaroos, so that loss of big males and females would then also favour early breeding in young does.
Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher have also noted this effect:
“However, harvesting does mimic some of the conditions produced by natural perturbations, such as die-off of males in drought, from which the kangaroo population is adapted to recover quickly by enhancing its rate of increase.” (Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher) 
And the industry knows that hunting affects populations upwards:
“To harvest a sustained yield from a population at steady density, it must first be manipulated in some way to promote its rate of increase (e.g. reduce it below its ecological carrying capacity or supplement its resources).” (Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg (1999) 
If there were really a desire to achieve smaller kangaroo populations naturally, then a number of things could be tried. Assuming that the disorganisation caused by hunting and culling is responsible for managing the population numbers upwards, we might create reliably safe areas and corridors local to various kangaroo clans in the harvesting area so that they could adapt to protect dependent young and females, encouraging the Westermarck effect, normalisation of patterns of incest avoidance and dispersal, weight, rate of maturity, sexual competition and fertility response to environment. If this succeeded it would reduce both the perceived need and the opportunity for the commercial industry as well as damaging the kangaroo’s reputation for overpopulation. These refugia could also provide a safe and permanent environment away from the massive human population expansion and landscape transformation which also uproots, scatters and kills kangaroos.
More demographic Brakes: Sexual Segregation/Gender pathways
Some other variations in population organisation can affect fertility opportunities. Examples include separate gender pathways, with 'sexual segregation' where male and female populations live apart.
“Sexual segregation is a phenomenon seen in many species, with segregation occurring along behavioural or ecological dimensions. Sexual segregation in western grey and red kangaroos in semi - arid Victoria has been the subject of intensive investigations since the last review.
[…] MacFarlane and Coulson (2005) investigated the effects of mating activity, group […] composition, spatial distribution and habitat selection on sexual segregation in western grey and red kangaroos. The synchrony and timing of mating activity was seen to influence the magnitude and timing of social segregation in these species, with mixed sex groups predominating during the breeding season. …
… Spatial segregation and habitat segregation were also seen. Although the magnitude of these types of segregation were weaker, they were both still significantly influenced by synchrony and timing of breeding.
Coulson et al. (2006) discussed sexual segregation at three levels (habitat, social and dietary) and confirmed that both size and sex influence segregation.
MacFarlane and Coulson (2009) showed that the need for males to maintain contact with other males (perhaps to develop important fighting skills, evaluate rivals and establish a dominance hierarchy) might also promote sexual segregation.
Similarly Nave (2002) reported evidence of sexual segregation in eastern grey kangaroos in Victoria.” (Review of Scientific Literature Relevant to the Commercial Harvest Management of Kangaroos http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/nature/110641Kangaroolitreview.pdf)
What are the consequences of loss of sex-specific territory?
Years ago, Glen Marshall, who was a teacher and missionary in PNG between 1960 and 1974  told me that fertility shot up when churches convinced men and women to cohabit, where previously they had separate land and houses. I was later able to study this concept in detail and wrote a book about how Pacific Islander land-tenure and inheritance traditions kept populations within the limits of small islands. 
What effect could reduction of habitat, forced cohabitation, forcibly changed migration routes and wiped out populations have on male/female kangaroo territory and consequently on fertility opportunities?
How do we know that the female bias (recorded by Fletcher, 2006) at Tinbinburra, for instance, is not due to that area being female territory?
How far do kangaroos migrate?
Another aspect of population theory is migration.
The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 estimates red kangaroo ranges based on Croft 1991 and Pople et al 2006. Should these range estimates take into account recent MT DNA studies, such as Zenger et al DNA study 2003.  Zenga et al look at Eastern kangaroo populations, but I note that South Australia uses the NSW model anyway.  Clegg et al, emphasise
“Significant genetic differentiation of mtDNA, implies demographic differentiation of the female portion of the population and demographically separated parts of the population should be managed as separate units. 
Underestimation of real geographical range risks skewing the estimation of population numbers by confusing seasonal or reactive population movement with permanent populations: Pople et al (2007)  acknowledged that temporal and spatial kangaroo population movement had been ignored in the models and it does not seem to be taken into consideration in the South Australian Management Plan yet. Pople et al did not, however, consider the discrete dynamics within local populations and their interactions with other populations within the overall area. They were looking at a commercial hunting model seeking to predict when and where populations would be grouped together and easier to harvest economically.
Effectively the counting method and population model in the South Australian Management plan seems to assume an undifferentiated ‘metapopulation’ and to ignore the local populations that actually make up that metapopulation and which have their own local characteristics of endogamy, exogamy, dispersal and philopatrie within that metapopulation.
“A metapopulation is a population of populations (Hanski & Gilpin 1991). Wright (1940) laid the groundwork for a genetic theory of metapopulations, while Andrewartha & Birch (1954, Ch.14) did the same for metapopulation dynamics: 'A natural population occupying any considerable area will be made up of a number of local populations or colonies. In different localities the trend may be going in different directions at the same time.' They emphasized the influence of dispersal on the number of patches occupied at any given time.” (Caughley, 1994). 
ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE MITIGATION & ROO DENSITY: THEORY & EXPERIMENT
Goal: […] to provide an alternative management option for reducing the damage to land condition caused by overabundant kangaroos. (The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.4. ) 
The South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 seems to rely, as mentioned above, on a predator/prey, biomass dependent population theory, and to cite a small group of scientists who have apparently confirmed this theory time and again, describing how kangaroos wear down grasslands and then starve to death. One scientist not cited is ACT Ecologist Donald Fletcher, whose extensive field research failed to confirm the theory. The ACT Kangaroo Management model relies on the same literature as the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan, and the model is one of high fertility sedentary populations that rarely migrate, grazing grasslands down to the subsoil. But, in his 2006 thesis, p. 237, Senior ACT Kangaroo management ecologist, Donald Fletcher, tested this model and found, to his surprise, that,
"The study did not provide evidence that high densities of kangaroos reduce groundcover to the levels where erosion can accelerate.
Unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in low levels of ground cover. Groundcover had a positive but not significant relationship to kangaroo density, with the highest cover at the wettest site where kangaroo density was highest. Weather has an important influence on groundcover."
"The results from the study as a whole indicate that unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in unacceptably low levels of ground cover." (Don Fletcher.) 
Grigg is also recorded virtually dismissing the environmental reason for culling kangaroos.
“Grigg strongly queries whether the cull is needed for its stated purpose - to protect sheep grazing land from the ravages caused by large numbers of kangaroos. If anything, according to the observations made by the team, sheep damage the land more than the kangaroos. For example, in an area east of Lake Frome, where kangaroo densities are as high as 50 per square kilometre and sheep numbers are comparatively low, the land is not degraded. It is in other places where sheep numbers are high and kangaroo numbers are low.” (Lowe, 1998.) 
KANGAROO WELFARE PROPOSAL THAT WOULD ALSO REGULATE FERTILITY IN ACCORDANCE WITH CARRYING CAPACITY:
Kangaroo welfare has been limited in the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022 to two extremes: avoiding extinction  and how kangaroos may be killed. 
Proposal of wider definition of welfare
I would like to propose a much wider definition of welfare to include the well-being and preservation of the structure of the families and clans of this social animal, with a full age and sex cohort. This would restore and preserve their natural social behaviour and fertility regulation, with the associated incest avoidance, mating competition, and reduction of mating opportunity among smaller, younger males and females. It would probably also mean that age of sexual maturation (possibly physiological as well as behavioural) would be delayed. Infant survival would probably improve if kangaroos had the opportunity to experience and learn nurturing skills from experienced older kangaroos, instead of joeys being raised by very young kangaroos in fragmented populations.
Accordingly, since the kangaroo meat industry greatly favours the killing of the largest male kangaroos, the impact of this industry needs to be limited, and/or its selection preferences need to change.
Refugia to be permanent and extended to harbour permanent stable populations
Refugia have been mentioned in the South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, as part of mitigating commercial harvest impacts. It seems, however, that no permanent safe places for kangaroo clans and mobs have been designated outside national parks.  Even the national parks are subject to population culls. I would propose that permanent and extensive refugia connected by safe corridors be designated for the welfare of kangaroos and with the purpose of allowing their populations to regain and retain their natural structure.
If commercial hunting were to persist, it would be with a much lower target ‘harvest’ and only take place in areas outside substantial refugia. Although Grigg has suggested that kangaroos don’t compete with sheep and don’t damage pasture, farmers might perceive a benefit from smaller kangaroo populations than those that have to date been cultivated by the commercial kangaroo hunting industry. Tourism would presumably benefit from the experience people enjoy in seeing healthy, confident, stable kangaroo clans and mobs undisturbed in their natural habitats.
Public attitudes led by the industry and its scientists
Public attitudes led by the industry and its scientists. Kangaroos have been given an undeservedly bad name by the commercial kangaroo industry and many of the scientific papers, as ‘pests’ in plague proportions. Yet my citations from the literature, beginning with (Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg (1999), in “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” show that the industry knowingly artificially stimulates those numbers by hunting. Kangaroo science writers freely use the term ‘pests’ to describe kangaroos. For instance Pople and Grigg (1999) provide a good example of what seems the cynical use of this term,  when we know that Grigg was unconvinced that culls are needed for their stated purpose – to protect sheep grazing land from the ravages [purportedly] caused by large numbers of kangaroos – when he says that sheep do far more damage and kangaroos little if any. 
Is contempt for kangaroos necessary for the commercial industry to continue business as usual?
“The main reason an industry is approved is almost certainly because of the extent to which kangaroos are regarded as a pest.”  (Pople and Grigg 1999)
Indeed, Australians have tended to absorb this cynical attitude as it has been handed down by the authorities and promoted by the press. Politicians implement it. The ‘pest’ epithet has excused reducing the notion of ‘welfare’ for kangaroos to whether the species might become extinct or the manner of a kangaroo’s final moments, ignoring the quality of most of its life. It has probably stimulated public contempt for kangaroos which has resulted in growing reports of mutilations and tortures, and the tendency to grant cull permits to farmers without inspecting the reasons. The public need to be properly educated to understand that kangaroos don’t normally overpopulate their ranges and also don’t damage their habitat. They also need to be given permission to enjoy and respect these attractive and social animals, which form an integral part of Australia’s extraordinary evolution and natural endowment.
 “Harvesting will invariably involve some injuries and protracted deaths. However, this must be weighed up against compensatory mortality, reduction in other forms of killing when an animal changes status from a pest to a resource, the quality of life for individuals in dense, unharvested populations during droughts and alternative land uses if harvesting is not allowed.” Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg,“Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, p.2).
 “Australia's problem with abundant kangaroo species: Australia has about 50 species of marsupial mammals of the Super-family Macropodoidea. Most of them have declined in the 210 or so years since Europeans settled here, some to extinction. Some, however, have thrived to the extent that they are now among the most abundant large mammals anywhere. The abundant species, particularly the three largest species of kangaroo, are so numerous in many rural areas that they are regarded as pests, in competition with sheep and cattle for pasture which, in a dry country like Australia, is always in short supply.
The abundance of kangaroos, with their high conservation status, and the recognition that they are regarded as a serious pest by graziers gives Australian conservation agencies a problem. Not surprisingly, all Australian macropods are protected by law, as is almost all Australian wildlife. The solution to this conflict has been to issue limited permits which allow kangaroos and some of the most numerous wallabies to be shot as pests. However, most of the control is effected through permitting a regulated commercial harvest of kangaroos and wallabies for meat and for leather.
Any commercial harvest or pest destruction of wildlife is likely to be controversial, especially if the subjects are as appealing and as well known as Australia's kangaroos. That kangaroos are the most readily identified symbol of Australia, and that they are harvested by shooting, only exacerbates the concern, and it is not uncommon for there to be organised public campaigns against their commercial use. […]
[…] The individual aims of the Management Programs differ a little between the different States but, in general, all identify the need to balance land-use requirements against the necessity to ensure continuation of self perpetuating kangaroo populations of all species.” Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg,“Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, p.2).
 Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, p.5
 Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg , Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia, Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, pp.38-39.
 Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher, Situation Analysis Report: Current state of scientific knowledge on kangaroos in the environment, including ecological and economic impact and effect of culling, for the Kangaroo Management Advisory Committee, November 2000, p. 192.
 “However, within the life of this plan, new Commercial Harvest Sub-Regions may be opened, on the basis of population surveys, in areas of South Australia where commercial harvesting of kangaroos is not currently occurring. The Commonwealth Government will be advised of the quotas annually through the Quota Report before implementation.” South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.10
 “Action 8: Educate DEWNR regional staff and land managers on best practice for combining the use of commercial and non-commercial techniques for kangaroo management.
8.1 Develop decision-making tools to assist regional staff in providing advice to land managers on commercial vs.non-commercial kangaroo management.
8.2 Any landholder seeking a destruction permit for more than a specified number of kangaroos (determined seasonally) within a CHMR is asked to consider using the commercial harvest option in the first instance. In such circumstances, Permits to Destroy Wildlife (Kangaroos) are only offered after the commercial harvest option has been declined.
8.3 Investigate the introduction of formal training requirements (like those undertaken by Kangaroo Field Processors) for landholders requesting a non-commercial Permit to Destroy Wildlife (Kangaroos).
8.4 Investigate alternative ways to integrate commercial and non-commercial kangaroo management options to mitigate damage to land condition.” (South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.8.)
 As well as being a biomass model, this also talks of how hunting stimulates population growth, which contradicts what Grigg says in the note below re cull reducing population numbers. Simplification of population dynamics in pasture biomass model: “Briefly, changes in kangaroo numbers are modelled as a function of pasture biomass which, in turn, is determined by recent rainfall, past pasture biomass and the density of kangaroos (and livestock) consuming the pasture. Harvesting obviously reduces kangaroo numbers, but the reduced density results in higher pasture biomass and therefore higher rates of increase of kangaroos. This improvement in environmental conditions for a population, which without harvesting has no long-term trend, is a basic requirement for the sustainability of a harvest. The population can be simulated 10,000 times over a 20 year period. Each run is different as, every three months, rainfall is drawn from a probability distribution using the average and standard deviation for rainfall in western NSW and thus reflects the uncertain food supply in this arid environment. Population size is also estimated with uncertainty by aerial surveys, and so this too was drawn from a probability distribution using the average and standard deviation associated with aerial surveys (Pople 2008). The population was harvested at an annual rate of 15 percent or less if it was below a particular threshold.” (Source: Appendix 3, pp31-32, South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022.)
 “Without the annual cull, kangaroo numbers would jump by 30 to 40 per cent, he says. The dingo once kept kangaroo numbers in check. Now fences keep the dingoes out of pastoral areas. ‘We’ve become the predator instead,’ Grigg says. […]” “Grigg’s team estimates that in the 20 years from 1978-1998, the number of red kangaroos in the pastoral zone has risen from about 1 million to 1.6 million, while the number of western greys has remained steady around the 400 000 mark.” (Ian Lowe, “South Australia’s great kangaroo count,” ‘Forum’, New Scientist, 12 September 1998. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15921516-600-south-australias-great-kangaroo-count/).
 A. R. Pople, G. C. Grigg, S. C. Cairns, L. A. Beard and P. Alexander, “Trends in the numbers of red kangaroos and emus on either side of the South Australian dingo fence: evidence for predator regulation?” Wildlife Research 27(3) 269 – 276, 2000, http://www.publish.csiro.au/wr/WR99030
 Letnic, Mike ; Laffan, Shawn ; Greenville, Aaron ; Russell, Benjamin ; Mitchell, Bruce ; Fleming, Peter, “Artificial watering points are focal points for activity by an invasive herbivore but not native herbivores in conservation reserves in arid Australia,” Biodiversity and Conservation, 2015, Vol.24(1), pp.1-16.
 Gordon Grigg, “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of the sheep rangelands,” Keynote address, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales conference on Kangaroos, May 14, 1988.
 “[Inbreeding is] a lesser problem in natural populations because mating between close relatives is uncommon and individuals often actively avoid mating with close relatives (Ralls, Harvey & Lyles 1986). Caughley, Directions in Conservation, Journal of animal ecology, 1994 Vol: 63 Issue: 2 Page: 215 -244, 1994, pp220-221. Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The rules of animal and human populations, Countershock Press, 2013., Chapter 4, cites:
Marie Charpentier, Patricia Peignot, Martine Hossaert-McKey, Olivier Gimenez, Joanna M. Setchell, and E. Jean Wickings., 2005. “Constraints on control: factors influencing reproductive success in male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).” Behavioral Ecology 16:614–623 ’Several studies have shown that maternal relatives avoid mating with one another (rhesus macaques: Smith, 1995; red colobus, Procolobus badius temminckii: Starin, 2001; Japanese macaques: Takahata et al., 2002; and see for review: Moore, 1993; van Noordwijk and van Schaik, 2004), but less is known concerning patterns of inbreeding avoidance between paternal relatives (but see Alberts, 1999). In this study, we showed that the probability of paternity by a dominant male decreased when he was related to the dam at R = .5 (the highest possible relatedness coefficient in our study). Smith (1995) showed in rhesus macaques that the intensity of inbreeding avoidance was directly correlated with the closeness of kinship, as in the mandrills studied here.’
Some other references on incest avoidance in multiple species from the same chapter:
Hoier, S., 2003. “Father absence and the age of menarch, A test of four evolutionary models,” Human Nature, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 209–233, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York.
Cockburn A, Osmond HL, Mulder RA, Green DJ, Douvle MC, 2003. Divorce, dispersal and incest avoidance in the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. J Anim Ecol 185 72:189–202;
Griffin AS, Pemberton JM, Brotherton PNM, McIlrath G, Gaynor D, Kansky R, O'Riain J, Clutton-Brock TH, 2003. A genetic analysis of breeding success in the cooperative meerkat (Suricata suricatta). Behav Ecol 14:472–480;
Mateo JM, 2003. Kin recognition in ground squirrels and other rodents. J Mammal 84:1163–1181;
Pusey A, Wolf M, 1996. Inbreeding avoidance in animals. Trends Ecol Evol 11:201–206;
Stow AJ, Sunnucks P, 2004. Inbreeding avoidance in Cunningham's skinks (Egernia cunninghami) in natural and fragmented habitat. Mol Ecol 13:443–447;
Yu XD, Sun RY, Fang JM, 2004. Effect of kinship on social behaviors in Brandt's voles (Microtus brandti). J Ethol 22:17–22.
 See introduction and most chapters in Nancy G. Solomon and Jeffrey A. French, Cooperative Breeding in mammals, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
See “Chapter 4: Towards a new social theory on population density and geometric patterning” in Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013, (http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/6537280, https://www.amazon.com.au/Demography-Territory-Law-animal-populations-ebook/dp/B00ALE8YSA, http://www.lulu.com/au/en/shop/sheila-newman/demography-territory-law-rules-of-animal-human-populations/paperback/product-21735874.html) and Sheila Newman, The Urge to Disperse, Candobetter Press, 2012. (https://www.amazon.com/Urge-Disperse-Sheila-Newman/dp/1446784134).
 “Kangaroos at risk,” gives examples of variations in breeding age in different populations. http://www.kangaroosatrisk.net/2-biology--population-ecology.html
 “Chapter 4: Towards a new social theory on population density and geometric patterning” in Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013, (http://catalogue.nla.gov.au/Record/6537280, https://www.amazon.com.au/Demography-Territory-Law-animal-populations-ebook/dp/B00ALE8YSA, http://www.lulu.com/au/en/shop/sheila-newman/demography-territory-law-rules-of-animal-human-populations/paperback/product-21735874.html) and Sheila Newman, The Urge to Disperse, Candobetter Press, 2012. (https://www.amazon.com/Urge-Disperse-Sheila-Newman/dp/1446784134).
 For instance, references to Jaques Dupaquier and to Massimo Livi-Bacci in Henri Leridon, "Théories de la fécondité : des démographes sous l’influence ?" Population, 2015/2 (Vol. 70) Éditeur : Institut national d'études démographiques (INED), France.
 An extreme human example of incestuous kinship rules is that of the Egyptian pharaohs, although the reader might recognise that all ruling classes tend to be of small numbers and to marry closely within their rank. See, on various kinship rules, including the pharaohs, Sheila Newman, "Overpopulation: Endogamy,Exogamy and fertility opportunity theory," http://candobetter.net/node/3197.
The naked mole-rat is an extreme example in another species, where the female head of the community (the queen) chooses one of her sons as her ‘husband’ and the rest of her children remain sexually immature helpers. These communities (which may contain more than 80 members) are also extremely xenophobic towards other communities of naked mole-rats. Furthermore, they are extremely inbred but very hardy. See Christopher G. Faulkes and David H. Abbott, “The Physiology of a reproductive dictatorship: Regulation of male and female reproduction by a single breeding female in colonies of naked mole-rats,” in Nancy G. Solomon and Jeffrey A. French, (eds.) Cooperative Breeding in Mammals, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
 South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.25
 The Westermarck Effect: Towards the end of the 19th century, Finnish sociologist, Edvard Westermarck, whilst conducting research into endogamy and exogamy, discovered a phenomenon which came to be called the Westermarck effect. He was able to show that incest avoidance applied to people raised together, whether or not they were genetically related. The Westermarck Effect could also be an explanation for apparent incest avoidance in many species. Since animals (and many humans) cannot be sure of their actual DNA relationship to siblings and other clan members, it might be more accurate to attribute their incest avoidance to an avoidance of members of their species who they were brought up closely with. I discuss this in Sheila Newman, Chapter 4 of Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013.
Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher, Situation Analysis Report: Current state of scientific knowledge on kangaroos in the environment, including ecological and economic impact and effect of culling, for the Kangaroo Management Advisory Committee, November 2000, p. 192.
 (Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, p.5).
 Sheila Newman, “Suppression of matriarchal societies and population stability in Papua New Guinea 1960-1974,” Interview with Glen Marshall, /node/4382. Although this may seem an anecdotal sort of interview, separate men’s and women’s land in Micronesia, even today, and elsewhere, is a well-established fact in anthropology.
 Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations, Countershock Press, 2013. This also explores the Easter Island population crash narrative.
“Red kangaroos have sedentary populations that move within home ranges of variable size (typical weekly home range size may be up to 560 hectares or 5.6km 2 (Croft 1991). Red kangaroos range more widely in response to drought and can move a long way to access the better feed. Movements of up to 30km to obtain fresh pasture growth in response to rainfall have been recorded (Croft 1991). Occasional long-distance movements (i.e. >100km) of mature individuals of both sexes have been recorded (Bailey & Best 1992). Long-distance movements of red kangaroos to access better feed have also been found in the long-term aerial monitoring dataset for South Australia (Pople et al. 2006).” South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.21.
 Zenger et al DNA study 2003: (Heredity (2003) 91, 153–162. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800293, K R Zenger, M D B Eldridge and D W Cooper, "Intraspecific variation, sex-biased dispersal and phylogeography of the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)." http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v91/n2/full/6800293a.html
 “South Australia has adopted the harvest thresholds method used in New South Wales and described in the New South Wales Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2017-2022. The following explanation on harvest threshold setting by SR McLeod and AR Pople (2011), is taken from the NSW Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan.” (Appendix 3: Setting and applying harvest Thresholds, South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.28.)
 Clegg et al, Molecular population genetics of the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus):mtDNA variation, Molecular Ecology>, 7, 679-686, (1998), p.685.
“Whether the goal is conservation, sustainable use or pest control, wildlife management ideally requires regularly updated information on a population's size and distribution. Most frequently, population size is estimated from sample counts throughout a study area, but the pattern of distribution is either ignored or considered subjectively. Typically, management actions such as setting appropriate seasonal harvest limits or culling are triggered by estimates of the total population without sufficient regard to its spatial and temporal distribution. This means that management actions may be focused inappropriately, leading to wastage of money and outcomes that may be seriously suboptimal. Management actions would benefit from readily available and up-to-date information about the distribution of wildlife populations within a region, as well as the total population size. To do this, point-based sampling data need to be translated to density surfaces. Density surfaces modelled using geostatistics or habitat models have been produced from ground and airborne surveys of marine (e.g. Augustin et al. 1998; Rivoirard et al. 2000) and terrestrial (e.g. Campbell & Borner 1995; Rempel & Kushneriuk 2003) wildlife populations. However, few, if any, studies have modelled wildlife density over a large spatial and temporal extent, thereby providing local estimates of population size to inform more focused management actions.” (Pople, Phinn, Menke, Grigg, Possingham, McAlpine, “Spatial patterns of kangaroo density across the South Australian pastoral zone over 26 years: aggregation during drought and suggestions of long distance movement,” Journal of Applied Ecology 2007 44, 1068–1079)
 Caughley, Directions in Conservation Biology, Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 215-244, p. 221)
 Context of quote: “Widespread changes to the environment since European settlement have changed the abundance of many native species. Many species have declined in number, and some are now threatened. Other species have been able to adapt to the changes and can exploit the opportunities provided by altered habitats. These species – including kangaroos – are now present in larger numbers, or more widespread distributions, than before.
Kangaroos can be in conflict with various land uses and the objectives for which land is being managed. When this conflict occurs, kangaroos can cause detrimental impacts that may be environmental, economic, or social in nature. This plan adopts the ethic that the mitigation of environmental, economic, and social impacts of kangaroos should be allowed, provided it takes place in a manner that is humane and does not pose a risk to the long-term conservation of kangaroos.
The NPW Act provides for the destruction of kangaroos for the purposes of mitigating or preventing damage. This process is managed outside of the commercial harvest through the permit to destroy wildlife system and DEWNR’s non-commercial destruction policy, which guide staff in the issuing of non-commercial destruction permits. A landholder can apply for a permit to destroy a specified number of kangaroos when kangaroos are causing, or are likely to cause, detrimental impacts. Kangaroos culled under a Permit to Destroy Wildlife (Kangaroos) must be killed following the Non-Commercial Code.”
 Don Fletcher, Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands, Institute of Applied Ecology, University of Canberra, 2006 (PhD thesis), p.231.
 Ian Lowe, “South Australia’s great kangaroo count,” ‘Forum’, New Scientist, 12 September 1998. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15921516-600-south-australias-great-kangaroo-count/
 “Extinction is highly unlikely for this simulated population unless there is some combination of low numbers, catastrophic weather and unsustainable harvesting (i.e. much greater than 15 percent). A more useful measure of threshold performance is the probability of the population dropping to a relatively low density. This can be calculated as the proportion of the 10,000 simulation runs where the population falls below particular densities. Thresholds can be expressed in terms of standard deviations (SDs) below long-term average density for a kangaroo management zone. That way, the aim of the threshold harvest strategy is to keep the harvested population above historically low density.” (Appendix 3: Setting and applying harvest Thresholds, South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022, p.31.)
 4.1 in South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022.
 It is not clear to me what the 'refugia' available to kangaroos are in South Australia, from this draft management plan. Are they established places where not shooting takes place, within the commercial shooting areas, or are they inferred as areas that, more or less randomly, so unpredictably, escape shooting in any month or year? Or are they simply areas that are hard for shooters to reach? From the draft review: "Commercial harvest is patchy within management regions and properties, leaving areas of unharvested refuge habitat." (p.25); "The extent of harvesting is patchy, and refugia (e.g. areas that are not harvested) or areas that are lightly harvested occur across the harvested area." Are there any reliably safe areas local to various clans in the harvesting area to which they might habituate so that they could adapt to protect dependent young etc?
 Here is the context: “In the management of kangaroos, their multiple status as pest, resource and national symbol are all tightly interwoven. The main reason an industry is approved is almost certainly because of the extent to which kangaroos are regarded as a pest; and their commercialisation has provided a self-funding pest control agent. Had kangaroos had no commercial value, pest control would have been a direct and continuing cost to graziers. On the other hand, their status as national symbol, with a very high conservation value, has guaranteed sufficient public interest for government conservation agencies to implement extensive monitoring and regulatory procedures which ensure that annual harvests are conservative.
The present situation is a compromise which has been responsive primarily to the opposing demands for much greater pest control on one hand and complete protection on the other.
Even as a pest, however, kangaroos are still a resource, and they can only be that while they remain numerous, a necessity which puts an economic value on their conservation.” Source: Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, pp.38-39.
 “Grigg strongly queries whether the cull is needed for its stated purpose—to protect sheep grazing land from the ravages caused by large numbers of kangaroos. If anything, according to the observations made by the team, sheep damage the land more than the kangaroos. For example, in an area east of Lake Frome, where kangaroo densities are as high as 50 per square kilometre and sheep numbers are comparatively low, the land is not degraded. It is in other places where sheep numbers are high and kangaroo numbers are low.” Ian Lowe, “South Australia’s great kangaroo count,” ‘Forum’, New Scientist, 12 September 1998. https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg15921516-600-south-australias-great-kangaroo-count/
 Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, pp.38-39.
Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg,“Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999
Penny Olsen and Mike Braysher, Situation Analysis Report: Current state of scientific knowledge on kangaroos in the environment, including ecological and economic impact and effect of culling, for the Kangaroo Management Advisory Committee, November 2000
South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022
Appendix 3: Setting and applying harvest Thresholds, South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2018-2022
Ian Lowe, “South Australia’s great kangaroo count,” ‘Forum’, New Scientist, 12 September 1998.
A.R. Pople, G. C. Grigg, S. C. Cairns, L. A. Beard and P. Alexander, “Trends in the numbers of red kangaroos and emus on either side of the South Australian dingo fence: evidence for predator regulation?” Wildlife Research 27(3) 269 – 276, 2000
Letnic, Mike ; Laffan, Shawn ; Greenville, Aaron ; Russell, Benjamin ; Mitchell, Bruce ; Fleming, Peter, “Artificial watering points are focal points for activity by an invasive herbivore but not native herbivores in conservation reserves in arid Australia,” Biodiversity and Conservation, 2015, Vol.24(1), pp.1-16.
Gordon Grigg, “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of the sheep rangelands,” Keynote address, Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales conference on Kangaroos, May 14, 1988.
Caughley, Directions in Conservation, Journal of animal ecology, 1994 Vol: 63 Issue: 2 Page: 215 -244, 1994
Sheila Newman, Demography, Territory, Law: The rules of animal and human populations, Countershock Press, 2013.
Marie Charpentier, Patricia Peignot, Martine Hossaert-McKey, Olivier Gimenez, Joanna M. Setchell, and E. Jean Wickings., 2005. “Constraints on control: factors influencing reproductive success in male mandrills (Mandrillus sphinx).” Behavioral Ecology 16:614
Hoier, S., 2003. “Father absence and the age of menarch, A test of four evolutionary models,” Human Nature, Vol. 14, No. 3, pp. 209–233, Walter de Gruyter, Inc., New York.
Cockburn A, Osmond HL, Mulder RA, Green DJ, Douvle MC, 2003. Divorce, dispersal and incest avoidance in the cooperatively breeding superb fairy-wren Malurus cyaneus. J Anim Ecol 185 72:189–202
Griffin AS, Pemberton JM, Brotherton PNM, McIlrath G, Gaynor D, Kansky R, O'Riain J, Clutton-Brock TH, 2003. A genetic analysis of breeding success in the cooperative meerkat (Suricata suricatta). Behav Ecol 14:472–480
Mateo JM, 2003. Kin recognition in ground squirrels and other rodents. J Mammal 84:1163–1181
Pusey A, Wolf M, 1996. Inbreeding avoidance in animals. Trends Ecol Evol 11:201–206
Stow AJ, Sunnucks P, 2004. Inbreeding avoidance in Cunningham's skinks (Egernia cunninghami) in natural and fragmented habitat. Mol Ecol 13:443–447
Yu XD, Sun RY, Fang JM, 2004. Effect of kinship on social behaviors in Brandt's voles (Microtus brandti). J Ethol 22:17–22.
Nancy G. Solomon and Jeffrey A. French, Cooperative Breeding in mammals, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Sheila Newman, The Urge to Disperse, Candobetter Press, 2012.
“Kangaroos at risk,” http://www.kangaroosatrisk.net/2-biology--population-ecology.html
Henri Leridon, "Théories de la fécondité : des démographes sous l’influence ?" Population, 2015/2 (Vol. 70) Éditeur : Institut national d'études démographiques (INED), France.
Sheila Newman, "Overpopulation: Endogamy, Exogamy and fertility opportunity theory," http://candobetter.net/node/3197.
Christopher G. Faulkes and David H. Abbott, “The Physiology of a reproductive dictatorship: Regulation of male and female reproduction by a single breeding female in colonies of naked mole-rats,” in Nancy G. Solomon and Jeffrey A. French, (eds.) Cooperative Breeding in Mammals, Cambridge University Press, 1997.
Sheila Newman, “Suppression of matriarchal societies and population stability in Papua New Guinea 1960-1974,” Interview with Glen Marshall,” /node/4382.
Caughley (1976, 1977) cited by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia,” Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999, p.5).
Caughley, “Directions in Conservation Biology,” Journal of Animal Ecology, Vol. 63, No. 2 (Apr., 1994), pp. 215-244.
Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg, “Commercial harvesting of Kangaroos in Australia”, Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland, for Environment Australia, August 1999
Zenger et al, DNA study 2003: Heredity (2003) 91, 153–162. doi:10.1038/sj.hdy.6800293, K R Zenger, M D B Eldridge and D W Cooper, "Intraspecific variation, sex-biased dispersal and phylogeography of the eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus)." http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v91/n2/full/6800293a.html
Pople, Phinn, Menke, Grigg, Possingham, McAlpine, “Spatial patterns of kangaroo density across the South Australian pastoral zone over 26 years: aggregation during drought and suggestions of long distance movement,” Journal of Applied Ecology 2007, 44, 1068–1079.
Don Fletcher, Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands, Institute of Applied Ecology University of Canberra, 2006 (PhD thesis).
Ian Lowe, “South Australia’s great kangaroo count,” ‘Forum’, New Scientist, 12 September 1998.
Recent mainstream media articles raise serious questions as to the policy base behind the ACT government policy to kill Kangaroos. Join us and hear about the research base purportedly in support of killing Kangaroos in the ACT. 6.00-7.30pm, Tuesday April 5th 2016, Urambi Village Community Hall, Gateway B, Crozier Circuit Kambah. Speakers: Sheila Newman, Marcus Fillinger, Frankie Seymour.
Sheila Newman –Independent researcher, evolutionary Sociologist and policy advisor for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council. Sheila will speak about kangaroo population numbers, including reference to the ACT Chief Ecologist, Dr Don Fletcher's PhD study of kangaroo populations at densities of 5 or 6 per hectare and their effect on ground cover. She will talk about what is lacking in the way kangaroo populations are described in the ACT and how agendas for the expansion of human population and development in the ACT affect the way the government presents kangaroos and their numbers to the public
Mr Marcus Fillinger - Director of Alphadog AnimalArmy, Marcus will speak about his research looking at multiphase kangaroo fertility control and which is undertaken in collaboration with the University of Technology Sydney and will engage experts in remote delivery, ballistics, neuroscience, zoology, pharmacology, veterinary science, ecology, and reconnaissance drone engineers.
Frankie Seymour – activist, writer and researcher. Frankie brings a powerful background to the debate around Kangaroo Management. From 1996-2013, she served on the ACT government’s Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC), collectively developing over about 20 codes of practice.
Light refreshments provided
It helps for catering if you can let us know you are attending;
RSVP Animal Justice part ACT: [email protected]
GOLD COIN DONATION APPRECIATED.
Kangaroos won! Please share. Thanks to everyone who emailed Californian Senators. You joined up to 100,000 people around the world who signed petitions and contacted the Senators directly. The main use - or abuse - of wild kangaroos in California is for the manufacture of soccer cleats!
Keep an eye on the Kangroos at risk website www.kangaroosatrisk.org for more pages going up soon about ecology, surveys and the industry.
Thanks to Jennifer Fearing
Brilliant work by the amazing Californian lobbyist Jennifer Fearing, Kangaroos at Risk partner US team Humane Society US and CA, and the wonderful Australian organisations who co-signed letters to Californian senators and put out the call via their networks. It’s been an inspiring win.
Kangaroos: World's Largest Wildlife Slaughter
By Maria Leonila Masculino, Sep 09, 2015 11:14 PM EDT
In 2007, the California government has exempted the bill prohibiting the sale of kangaroo products imported from Australia. As the extended exemption ends on December 31st, lobbyists and lawmakers hired by the Australian government and manufacturers are calling to extend or repeal the prohibition.
California is currently the world's largest market for soccer cleats - with many of these made with kangaroo leather. The growing sale of kangaroo skin as shoes didn't happen if it weren't for the aggressive lobbying of Adidas, the Australian government and the kangaroo meat and skin industry in 2007 and 2010 - repealing for the prohibition which was upheld by the California Supreme Court in 1970.
California assemblyman Mike Gipson of Los Angeles has recently proposed a last-minute bill known as "gut and amend" to step-aside from the wildlife protection law. This came after the freshman lawmaker was courted by Australians.
"The Australian government have, as well as other people, approached me around this particular measure," Gipson said. "We have seen members of the Australian Consulate lobbying alongside these paid lobbyists in the building last week. People should be concerned about a foreign government's influence here that's not being disclosed to their people or ours."
According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), kangaroos are "the world's largest wildlife slaughter" - threatening the population of the said species.
The Dodo reports that in the Australian states of Queensland and Western Australia, 2014 surveys show massive declines in the kangaroo population of up to 50%. Hunters have killed over 130,000 female kangaroos last year. As a result, tens of thousands of joeys have been abandoned and killed.
"I think everything about this stinks," said Jennifer Fearing of the HSUS. "I think it's all meant to be cloaked in secrecy and obfuscate a real conversation."
The Australian government reportedly paid $143,000 to lobbyists and lawmakers to activate the debate including $1,000 to Gipson.
There has been recent media coverage of efforts by the Australian government, in concert with the Australian Kangaroo products industry, to overturn an impending ban on the importation of Kangaroo products to California. The trade in Kangaroo products has been largely in the form of leather products. Aside from ethical issues surrounding the underhandedness of the Australian government’s interference in the Californian legislature on this issue, these events raise broader ethical issues about ongoing attempts to commercialize the harvesting of Australian wildlife, including for international trade.
First, some background about the Kangaroo products trade to California. The Californian legislature imposed a ban on the importation of Kangaroo products in 1971, a highly principled environmental decision, which in part reflected opposition in California to the commercial killing of wildlife. However, this ban was effectively overturned by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2007. As a result, the trade in Kangaroo products has flourished for the past eight years or so. The moratorium on the ban will end in December 2015, and is now due for review in the Californian Senate. The Senate could decide to either discontinue the moratorium, in which case the Kangaroo products trade would cease in accordance with the original ban, or, it may decide to maintain the moratorium, and the trade in Kangaroo products for a limited period or even indefinitely.
The issue has attracted a great deal of critical media attention in California, not merely because of the ethical issues associated with the commercial destruction of wildlife, but because of the way the Australian government has directly funded underhanded political tactics to influence of the decision making of the Californian legislature.
The Australian Department of Agriculture provided the Kangaroo Industries Association A$143,000 to pay U.S. lobbyists to influence Californian law makers. Furthermore, Australian government interference has been criticized because of the dishonest tactics that have been used in its attempt to influence the Californian legislature to maintain the Kangaroo products trade. It has relied upon a ‘gut and amend’ tactic, by which a bill on a completely unrelated issue, which has already reached the floor of the Californian Senate, is rewritten to put a totally different issue to the legislature. In this way, a bill initially related to gambling has been transformed into a bill on the Kangaroo trade issue, in an attempt to have the moratorium continued by stealth. As a result, a complaint has been lodged to the Fair Political Commission alleging that the Australian government may have acted illegally in not declaring its financial payments or to register itself as a lobbyist employer. The U.S. Humane Society observes that this tactic “…smacks of special interest dealing and secrecy”.
The Australian government’s underhandedness and mismanagement of the issue is clearly tarnishing Australia’s reputation in the U.S. Attempting to stick his finger in the dyke, Australian Ambassador to the U.S., former Federal Labor heavyweight, Kim Beazley, staggered into the fray, asserting to the Californian press that Australia’s tactics had been respectable and that criticism of it was ‘emotional’. Predictably supercilious, Beazely asserted that the products traded were not from threatened kangaroo species, that there were twice as many kangaroos in Australia as people and that cessation of the trade would do significant economic damage to both California and Australia – as if these claims exhausted the ethical and ecological issues involved pertaining to wholesale wildlife destruction and commercialization.
In a political climate where there is increasing reluctance to accept that habitat and wildlife species should be quarantined from commercial predation, and where the very concepts of nature and nature conservation are under siege from academic air heads, it is disturbing to witness the lengths to which the Australian government will go to ensure the continuation of wildlife-based trade. The events surrounding the trade in Kangaroo products to California should not be seen in isolation.
Domestically, recreational hunting organizations are ramping up political pressure for increased access to wildlife species, to have wildlife species redefined as 'game'. In fact the recreational and commercial dimensions of wildlife destruction are closely related. Recently in Victoria, state upper house members, elected on a hunting and fishing ticket (with an obscenely small number of votes) called for the introduction of a kangaroo shooting season, similar to the Victorian duck shooting season. While claiming that their voluntary involvement in Kangaroo culling would make a contribution to environmental management (referring to claims of kangaroo overpopulation), it is also asserted that the Kangaroos slaughtered should ‘not go to waste’ and be disposed of commercially. It remains to be seen if the Victorian Labor government will be opportunistic enough (given the need to attract cross-bench support in the upper house) to buy into this insidious double speak. In reality, recreational shooters want access to Kangaroos for the same reasons they have already gained state permission to destroy ducks – nothing to do with environmental management or 'sustainability' (in fact the opposite).
As part of its 2014 policy platform, the Victorian Labor government announced its intention to rewrite and merge the Victorian Wildlife and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Acts. As it stands, the Victorian Wildlife Act holds that all Victorian wildlife is protected by definition. The Act does, however, provide for the destruction of wildlife where property and persons are threatened or damaged. Although it may be argued that these wildlife destruction provisions are currently applied too liberally, the axiomatic principle that wildlife, by definition, is to be protected is highly defensible and responsible. It remains to be seen whether this laudable principle survives Labor’s rewriting of the Wildlife Act; Victorian Labor’s current bio-diversity policy contains no such principle.
Over the last few months there has been an alarming increase in the numbers of juvenile Eastern Grey Kangaroo's being found either dead or in a very lethargic state and near death in parts of the ACT and adjacent New South Wales. Rosemary and Steve Garlic, who are wildlife carers in the area, were initially contacted by a few Wildcare carers and the issue then seemed to be centred around the Wamboin/Norton Road area. This article was developed from an internal note to members of Wildcare, of which Steve and Rosemary Garlic are members and Helen Stevens is the coordinator.
The situation now seems to be far more widespread as Wildcare have now received sick animals from Queanbeyan NSW, Jerrabomberra NSW, the ACT, Sutton NSW, and this week Burra, near Queenbeyan. Between Rosemary/Steve and myself we have dealt with or known of 60 suspected cases and it is very distressing.
The animals affected appear to be last years offspring ranging from 8kgs to 18kgs. They are either being found dead, with no appearance of injury, in paddocks etc or are showing signs of weight loss, lethargy allowing them to be rescued easily and are hypothermic.
All that have come into care have died, usually between 1 and 24 hours later despite all our efforts as well as medical attention. Contrary to what some believe, it is not starvation due to over population as they are usually still eating and passing normal faeces and post mortem has shown digested food in the stomach and formed pellets in the intestine.
Wildcare are working closely with NPWS, DPI, Australian Registry for Wildlife Health and some of our local vets to try to identify the cause of this unusual occurance and the situation has been escalated to an alert as some national parks in the ACT are recording very high numbers too.
A number of deceased animals have been transported to Sydney for further examination and testing but at the moment results have been unable to identify what is causing the fatal decline in these joeys.
Upon post mortem the 5 animals that have been examined by our local wildlife vet Dr Howard Ralph, and the vets at DPI and the Taronga Conservation Society have all shown fluid in the peritoneal cavity (ascites) and some showing fluid around other major organs.
The majority seem to have a very high number of nematodes (worms) in the intestine but the question is still "why" as parasites will increase if an animal's immune system is compromised.
We are not seeing young in pouch joeys, who would be receiving antibodies via their mothers milk, or adults, who have developed immune systems, affected.
Investigations are looking at possible virus, parasite/protozoa infestation, transmission by ticks (as in Babesia), plant poisoning etc. So far post mortem results have been negative for Babesia and Phyllaris grass poisoning (hundreds of kangaroos are dying from this in Victoria around Bendigo, Kilmore and Broadford) but more testing is needed to compare cases and to continue to try to find a common cause which will hopefully lead to a treatment path if the animal is viable.
What can you do to help?
Not only do we need to document any possible cases but we require more testing to be carried out by the NPWS suggested agencies.
Please let Wildcare know asap if
a) you come across an animal that appears to be affected - they will usually be alone, appear underweight, may have aeroplane (floppy) ears and do not try to escape/move off if approached;
b) you find a fresh deceased juvenile kangaroo that appears to have no external injury;
c) your friends/neighbours mention finding a number of young kangaroo bodies over the last few months.
If I receive any news regarding possible diagnosis I will send out an update as I know many are very worried about this.
Source: Helen Stevens, Wildcare Macropod Co-ordinator, Oolandra Wildlife Sanctuary, 02 62991966
Human officials just seems to dream up worse and worse situations for kangaroos and carers. Wildlife activists often go to considerable expense to try to help government plan to transfer kangaroos out of the way of new roads and housing developments instead of shooting them. The usual response is that it is too difficult to transport kangaroos. The wildlife rescuers keep a watch, but usually one day they find that the kangaroos have all gone. Then someone will find some mass graves. But, when it suits the government, it seems it's all too easy to transport kangaroos, with police escorts no less.
Looking at this picture of police cars outside a bush-setting home, you could be forgiven for thinking this was a stake-out in a hostage situation. But it was actually an uninvited transport team for a couple of hand-reared kangaroos, and a slap in the face for their carer.
Mad laws create havoc
Tonight I received two pieces of news about kangaroos that highlighted the utter hypocrisy and cruel stupidity of Australian wildlife laws. One was from the owner of a wildlife sanctuary, who described how wildlife activists had managed to rescue and transport kangaroos away from a planned cull and had wanted him to take some in. He said that, not only did he have room for them at the time, but he was happy to take them. Only, the law said that he could not accept wild kangaroos. The law said the roos had to be released into the wild. But there is less and less 'wild' left, and they had already been transported away (at considerable cost) from 'wild' that was being turned into housing lots.
Colin Candy's kangaroos
The second piece of news was that Queenslander Colin Candy's pet kangaroos had been seized in another raid by the police and transported away in crates to the 'wild'. Colin is beside himself because he had rescued these kangaroos and raised them. They have never known the 'wild', with the exception of a little bit of it at the end of his back yard, which has a few acres of bush.
"I travelled to Charleville in July 2009, and approached several shooters and the kangaroo abattoir, asking if someone would save me a joey. But everyone knocked me back saying that that they kill the young and leave them in the paddock.
While driving around Charleville I noticed a sign, wanting to buy kangaroo meat. So I phoned the owner of the sign, and he told me that he also shot roos and if he happened to come across any joeys that he would save them for me.
Next day he phoned to say that he had 2. So I gratefully picked them up and brought them back to Hervey Bay, where they bred, and I hand raised half of the joeys while leaving half with their mum.
We finished fencing this place at Apple Tree Creek late in March 2014, and I caught the hand raised kangaroos and relocated them here, while I couldn’t catch the kangaroos raised by their mum. Those kangaroos I gave to a wildlife park in Maryborough on the 1st April 2014.
None of the kangaroos have any idea, what it is like to live in the wild. As you have stated, kangaroos in Qld don’t get to live much past two years of age, with most being shot before they have even reproduced." (Colin's communication to the author of this article.)
Within days the same agency that had forced the removal of Colin's kangaroos, refused a request to remove a kangaroo involved in an incident, where a 67 year old man had been injured. A stand-off has developed between Bundaberg Regional Council and the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP).
"An EHP spokesman said under the Nature Conservation Act, the EHP issued damage mitigation permits to landholders or local authorities to manage or remove problem native wildlife.
"EHP is not responsible for managing or removing the wildlife itself," he said.
But Bargara Divisional representative Greg Barnes said Wednesday's incident at Apple Tree Creek, which saw EHP officers remove five pet kangaroos from private property, highlighted that native animal issues were the responsibility of the EHP." Source: "Council and state fight over who will kill the 'roo"
In 2001 Mr Candy had two other kangaroos removed from his premises, Mitchell and Marcy. Both kangaroos died soon after they were removed. See article here.
With his first rescued kangaroos, Colin initially obtained permits as a rescuer, but let them lapse after a few years. No-one seemed to object.
Then suddenly in 2001 he became the object of authorities determined to remove those kangaroos from his premises. He lost his home fighting for them in court. How could any authority allow this to happen to someone who was trying to help our wildlife? There do not seem to be any accusations of cruelty or complaints from neighbours that would have precipitated these actions.
Although Colin has since applied for permits, he says they have been refused, on the grounds that they are only given to rescuers - who are expected to release them into the bush. Mr Candy said that he was trained as a paramedic and that
"Kangaroos are treated like pariahs in their own country, so I don't understand why I can't keep them. They are harmless beautiful creatures."
We live in endlessly expanding cities where our governments are forcing all of us into smaller and smaller spaces and forcing our wildlife into oblivion as they pave over natural habitat. As mentioned above, kangaroos in Queensland, the state where Colin lives, have an average life expectancy of only two years because they are shot for kangaroo meat. As a result of all the big males being taken, the kangaroos there are observably much smaller than in Victoria, for instance, where there is no roo-meat industry (although not for lack of lobbying). Not just the Queensland government, but every state government in Australia promotes fictions of how kangaroo populations are ballooning when it is actually our own that are forcing them from the bush onto streets. The ACT government regularly engages in wholesale kangaroo massacres on elaborate pretexts.
And now four female and one male red kangaroos that a kindly Australian called Colin Candy went out of his way to rescue when they were little have been rudely taken from him because he doesn't have a permit. This in a state that authorises industrial scale hunting of kangaroos and the abandon or killing of their young at foot or in pouch. As if anyone involved in this raid really cares about Colin's kangaroos - or dared to speak up if they did. But Colin cares and the kangaroos know nothing else. And he dares to speak up. So we must also. Because the whole thing sounds completely stupid, as well as cruel.
Please speak up for Colin and his kangaroos and for all kangaroos by emailing the following parties. Say something about the population growth that is causing the disturbance of our kangaroos and about the sheer insanity of prosecuting a man who has tried to help abandoned joeys who will now be at risk of being shot in the wild, like their mothers, in the unlikely case that they survive alone in the bush without any relationship with the local roos, who tend to chase unfamiliar roos off their territory.
Director General EHP Jon Black
Investigation Officer EHP Matt Barr
Wildlife Manager EHP Michael Devery
Minister EHP Andrew Powell (this bloke has the power to order the return of the roos)
Minister EHP Andrew Powell (he also orders the destruction of wild roos)
Premier Hon Campbell Newman
An article by Kathy Lord, "Wildlife group 'pushed to the limit', in ABC News, typifies many mainstream press reports on kangaroos as it reports the phenomenon of kangaroos turning up in suburban and urban areas. This article entirely omits to criticise the cause, which is human overpopulation and expansion due to Australian and State goverments' undemocratic policy of inviting mass immigration from interstate and overseas. This needs to be exposed. The article, as stands, makes it look as if kangaroos are for some bizarre reason invading the city. This is grossly unfair and quite callous. The casual references to darting and euthanasia gloss over a completely avoidable problem that breaks the hearts of many Australians who just want the suburban expansion and its destruction of nature to stop.
"Wildlife group 'pushed to the limit' by growing number of calls for help for kangaroos in residential areas," relates sympathetically how growing numbers of displaced and injured wildlife are overwhelming the capacity of wildlife rescuers and carers. But it fails to show sympathy for the kangaroos; treating them like some insensate mass of troublemakers. The 'problem' seems largely reduced to one of getting the government to help Wildlife Victoria 'dart' the kangaroos. It hints blandly at mass euthanasia. It does not say where 2000 and more kangaroos might be placed, once darted, in what is a chronic displacement problem caused by government policy.
"Wildlife Victoria chief executive officer Karen Masson said since December 2012, the number of calls for help has increased rapidly. A large mob of up to 2,000 kangaroos has been displaced from new suburbs in the Mernda, Doreen and Whittlesea areas north of Melbourne. The animals head into residential areas for lush green grass and that is when they get into trouble,"
Lord makes it sound as if the kangaroos have somewhere else to go and are choosing, through some kind of gourmet impulse, to invade suburban gardens.
"The problem has forced Wildlife Victoria into a corner. The group says it can no longer afford to dart kangaroos, leaving it up to the Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI). Ms Masson said the department has agreed to take over, but its darters only work between 8:00am and 6:00pm Monday to Friday.
The ABC asked to speak to a DEPI spokesman about the problem but the department only offered a brief statement.
"The Department of Environment and Primary Industries recognises the challenges of kangaroos in growth areas north of Melbourne and is working with Wildlife Victoria on the matter," the statement said.
This video was made in 2006 about a group of kangaroos marooned in Thomastown, which people tried to save. The situation has got even worse for kangaroos and that small clan is long paved over.
Journalists need to learn to present the situation more fairly
The author of "Wildlife pushed to the limit," and other journalists, need to learn to use more a balanced language and less biased terms when writing about kangaroos that are lost, isolated from their families and bewildered among crowds of humans and our noisy travel devices.
The kangaroo found near Sydney Road Coburg, (mentioned in the article) like the others who found themselves trapped in the airport carpark and one in the terminal, do not intentionally and deliberately cause chaos for humans.
To be fair, Kathy Lord did mention how wildlife groups are struggling with increased calls for help with distressed kangaroos, and how volunteers are overworked and understaffed, and wildlife groups are underfunded.
Many articles like this, however, make it appear as though kangaroos are somehow invading urban areas like some form of enemy aliens on the march to take over ‘our’ land, when in actual fact they were here long before humans.
We humans are the ones with ‘ballooning populations’ and ‘uncontrolled numbers’ (to use the words of the uninformed), who occupy their land.
Kangaroos and other wildlife have to contend with bushfires, ‘controlled burnoffs’, speeding vehicles, farmers & drunken shooters, sadistic morons in their utes, toxic sprays, polluted creeks from farm runoff, droughts and floods.
To add to that, human overpopulation and our urban and industrial sprawl are invading wildlife habitat and squeezing kangaroos out into the open making them vulnerable to further dangers.
Yet journalists continue to vilify these displaced roos with terms like ‘the kangaroo problem', ‘pests’ or ‘causing chaos’. These journalists neglect to inform the public of the real problems involved, especially the human problem.
Those who get to publish their own versions of kangaroo stories in major media outlets with wide coverage aren't getting the message out about what is really happening.
Articles like the above-mentioned often misrepresent the real situation, depriving the kangaroos of sympathy and understanding for their plight. They also deprive the community of a platform for necessary political action.
If you’re a journalist please take into consideration all of the above natural and human threats to kangaroos the next time you have an article to write on the topic.
Kangaroos: an iconic species at risk
12 Feb 2014 | Lee Rhiannon
You can read the NSW nomination to list the large macropods as threatened species at: www.kangaroosatrisk.net
Senator RHIANNON (New South Wales) (20:46): In 2011, the four large kangaroos that can be commercially shot were nominated for listing in New South Wales as threatened species. That nomination, based on the government's own data, reveals a serious trend of decline in kangaroo numbers in just about every kangaroo management zone in New South Wales since kangaroo surveys began some 30 years ago. The published science of kangaroo reproductive biology and population ecology shows that the so-called population explosions described in the data-used to assert recovery from decline-are biologically impossible for this slow-breeding marsupial. Current analysis of the survey methodology and raw data is now suggesting systematic and massive inflation of kangaroo numbers, from which corresponding excessively inflated commercial shooting quotas are extracted-so that larger numbers may be shot from shrinking populations.
Two years after its submission, the NSW Scientific Committee has still not made a decision on the nomination. Meanwhile, the commercial shooting industry continues to empty local landscapes of kangaroos in what has been described as the world's largest commercial slaughter of land based wildlife. Often landowners mop up what the commercial shooters fail to kill. But it seems that the idea that macropods-various kangaroo species-might be in trouble is one that simply does not register.
We need to ask: why does this issue receive so little attention? It seems that notions of kangaroo abundance and unquestioning belief in the myth of population explosions are so firmly entrenched in the Australian psyche that we do not think to question the science behind shooting kangaroos. From 2001 to 2011, collated national population estimates across commercial hunting zones in the four mainland states recorded a 40 per cent drop. We need to ask why this is not an issue of concern. Maybe it is because there were still an estimated 34 million in 2011. But this is down from 57 million in 2001, according to the department's own collated figures. These sorts of numbers still seem to correspond with early settler accounts of 'immense flocks' and 'swarms' of kangaroos across our landscapes. That is certainly the impression many people have.
It all suggests abundance-twin myths of plague and pest promoted by a highly organised and strategic-thinking industry via an unquestioning political framework and repeated by uncritical media and unknowing Australians as common fact. Our unquestioning acceptance of those myths has, from 1975 to 2011, permitted nearly 90 million kangaroos and wallabies to be legally shot for the commercial market alone, with an unrecorded estimated additional 24.3 million joeys bashed over the head-and that is actually allowed under the code of practice-or left to die. The notion of a superabundance of kangaroos, and a complacency about the science behind the shooting of kangaroos, is pivotal to the continuing industrial scale slaughter of this internationally iconic animal.
What does the science say and what does the nomination of four large kangaroos to the NSW Scientific Committee for listing as threatened species tell us? What should be engaging the serious attention of our scientists and regulators? In discussing the scientific issues, I first add the proviso that we are talking about four different species of macropod here. This adjournment speech is not the place to cite every one of the 500 published scientific references informing the nomination to the NSW Scientific Committee. That information can be found by reading the nomination itself. But the science does raise serious questions about state kangaroo surveys-on which the commercial industry depends for government licence to operate. Considering the myths the commercial kangaroo industry is based on, some of this science needs to be put on the record.
Contrary to popular myth, kangaroos are a slow-breeding marsupial with low reproductive rates. It is biologically impossible for a kangaroo to increase its own maximum capacity to reproduce. A kangaroo doe can carry a developing in-pouch joey while nursing another at-foot dependent joey. However, it takes about 18 months for a joey to be fully weaned. Thus a kangaroo can raise only one joey to independence per year. That does not change.
Embryonic diapause, which is maintaining the embryo in a state of dormancy-something kangaroos have become famous for-is rare in eastern grey kangaroos, unknown in western grey kangaroos and confers no major reproductive advantage for the reds and the wallaroos in which it occurs. That fact needs to be reiterated. Kangaroos only raise one joey a year to independence. That is how their biology works. Certainly it is amazing that an embryo can be maintained in a state of dormancy, but often the results of that in terms of kangaroo numbers have been exaggerated.
Generally kangaroos in the wild will not start breeding and successfully raising their young to independence until about three years, with their first joey becoming independent at about four years. By 12 years-if the doe lives that long-few females are still producing offspring. A kangaroo doe, then, is biologically capable of producing in most cases no more than eight independent joeys in her lifetime.
Kangaroo juvenile mortality in the first year of life is similar to many other mammals in that it can be high-around 73 per cent. A scientific paper on population ecology of western grey kangaroos found 73 per cent mortality of that species. The ACT Kangaroo Advisory Committee has found mortality in juvenile eastern greys was 'high' in the ACT-although no quantitative work was undertaken in that case. A further study has found that about 50 per cent of emergent young still dependent on their mothers are taken by foxes. With 'close to parity' sex ratios in populations free from historical male bias shooting, and using averages as discussed, this needs to be considered.
A kangaroo will only effectively replace herself once in her lifetime. With her first successfully weaned joey at around four years, and an end to her breeding at around 12 years, she can produce just eight young in her lifetime. However, with 73 per cent juvenile mortality in 'normal' conditions, just two of those joeys will survive to independence. In this hypothetical world of averages, and assuming the sex ratio parity carries through to the two surviving joeys, the original female doe will only effectively replace herself once in her lifetime. I have gone into that level of detail because how the kill rate of kangaroos in New South Wales is determined needs to be brought back to those biological facts.
So, the female doe will only effectively replace herself once in her lifetime-but only if she lives her full natural breeding span without being shot, tangled in a fence or hit by a car; or succumbs to disease or injury or starvation and heat stress during drought. And only if she successfully breeds every year and her joeys do not suffer higher than normal mortality. I have set this out in detail as we need to recognise that it is time to reassess how decisions are made on commercial killings of Australian macropods.
All things considered, and without going into the science of fecundity and birth rates, age structure and other factors such as adult mortality and historical shooting biases, an average kangaroo population is biologically capable of growing around 10 per cent a year. This is in good years when these animals are relatively free of stress from lack of food and water. Studies have found that during drought up to 100 per cent juvenile mortality can occur, with up to 40 to 60 per cent adult mortality. Flooding rains also cause mass or epidemic mortality events in kangaroos, with a lack of funding ensuring the causes remain only hypothesised, including the possibility of toxoplasmosis-a zoonotic disease ever present in wild kangaroo populations and a recognised health risk to human consumers. As an example, in 1998 some 300,000 counted kangaroos died suddenly over two weeks in a 30,000 square kilometre area in south-western Queensland and north-western New South Wales.
So, kangaroo populations will increase in natural environments at a maximum rate in good years of around 10 per cent per annum, but this can crash by up to 40 to 60 per cent per annum during drought or mass mortality events during big wets. Yet quotas for shooting kangaroos sit at 15 to 20 per cent of the preceding year's survey population estimates. This generally is not changed despite population crashes due to drought, flood or fire during the year the quotas apply. Consequently quotas can represent up to 40 per cent of an estimated population during drought.
With commercial shooting rates far exceeding population growth rates over decades, and with these rates usually maintained during drought when populations are known to crash by up to 60 per cent, there should be little surprise that the nomination to the NSW Scientific Committee expresses alarm at what the survey data is showing. The New South Wales government's own data reveals that kangaroo numbers have fallen by up to 90 per cent in some individual New South Wales harvest zones in the last 10 years alone, following a 30-odd-year decline in all harvest zones across the life of these records.
There is no need to interpret the data. This is the status of various kangaroos in New South Wales today, and this is from the government's own data. As little as two per cent of some kangaroo species remain in some areas, and preliminary examination of NSW survey transect data recently released under FOI is shows some 85 per cent of five-kilometre survey transect segments returned zero counts-that is, no macropod species. If this of itself is not alarming enough, examination of the survey methodology should raise concerns about basic scientific method and validity of the data. Two reports to the New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change amplify these concerns. One report-'Kangaroo monitoring: design & analysis of the Northern Tablelands region helicopter survey'-appears to have been removed from the internet. The other report is 'Kangaroo monitoring: Hunter and Central Tablelands commercial harvest zones design and analysis of helicopter survey.' Both contain very important information.'
This work shows that in one case 26 actual, counted kangaroos were multiplied by 1,456 to become a final population of over 37,000 animals in the Armidale region. That occurred in 2007. In the central tablelands, 1,362 actual, counted eastern greys were extrapolated into a population of 535,600. From these inflated figures, the commercial shooting industry is then allowed to shoot a quota of 15 to 17 per cent of those populations. Again, that is why I have set out the detail of how this methodology operates or, I should probably say, 'fails'-because that quota is based on those inflated figures.
This occurs because of a deeply flawed methodology. The number of transects has often doubled from one survey session to the next. Transect widths have been narrowed without a corresponding lowering of detection factors. Transects overfly national parks and other non-shooting areas, with those numbers applied to surrounding empty landscapes. For example, roughly half the transects in the central tablelands shooting zone overfly national parks and other non-shooting kangaroo habitat. Those non-shooting areas are removed from the equation to further inflate extrapolated densities of empty landscapes. Transects that continually show no kangaroos over regional landscapes have been dumped. This has happened for parts of western New South Wales. Finally, correction or detection factors, a number by which actual, counted numbers are multiplied, are continually increased. This can result in the multiplying of actual counts by up to 300 to 500 per cent. So this flawed methodology is how we see biologically impossible jumps in the number of kangaroos-the so-called population explosions.
In the Bourke kangaroo management zone, the latest survey report asserts that from 2011 to 2012, a year bookended by drought in rural New South Wales, kangaroo populations apparently increased by 249 per cent. Yet this nonsense of a population growth rate of 249 per cent in one year has not been challenged. Growth rates of 50 per cent or more are regularly reported by the department's consultants, but that would require true male-female parity, every female successfully raising young to independence and no animals at all dying for 12 months. Growth rates of between 100 and 300 per cent continue to be asserted.
The systemic nature of this absurdity is illustrated in Queensland's 2013 quota submission to the federal government for export approval of Queensland's kangaroo management plan. For the shooting block of Emerald, it shows a fanciful 371 per cent increase in wallaroos per year for two years, from 2010 to 2012. Little wonder, then, that the industry boasts about its environmental credentials-because its 'take', it argues, can be as little as three or four per cent of the kangaroo numbers it is allowed to shoot. But we now know those numbers are regularly a gross overestimation.
The industry is working hard to access kangaroos in new areas by extending commercial shooting zones across Australian states, including the ACT and Victoria. That is where it wants to go. It is worth noting that Victoria actually stopped commercial shooting in 1982 because 85 per cent of the state had less than one kangaroo per square kilometre. It would be a tragedy if kangaroo shooting started again in that state. The industry is working hard to shift the market for kangaroo from cheap pet food to the more profitable meat for human consumption. This continues despite the unambiguous health risks of toxoplasmosis and other zoonotic diseases associated with undercooking this meat, something often recommended by the industry.
There is growing concern about how the Kangaroo Industry Association of Australia shapes government kangaroo policy, with trade, foreign affairs and environment ministers actively going overseas to promote this market. That is work that, clearly, a lot of public money goes into.
The 2011 New South Wales nomination of kangaroos to the New South Wales Scientific Committee raises serious questions about the operation and sustainability of the commercial kangaroo industry. The issues and realities of kangaroo slaughter sit at the edges of public awareness; I do acknowledge that-but it is not surprising, considering the myths that are perpetuated here. So ingrained are these myths of the abundance and pest status of our kangaroos that they are frequently repeated without examination of the facts. It is not considered that the trashing of water points and waterways, the 95 to 98 per cent clearing of grassy woodlands-prime kangaroo habitat-along with heavy predation by foxes and humans, habitat division by roads and fences, and introduced endemic disease have made life pretty hard for the kangaroo, this amazing creature.
These myths are carefully nurtured by the industry via a well-honed communications strategy that has embedded itself into an unquestioning political framework that lobbies overseas politicians, the media, the market and the consumer. Scientific concerns are diminished by industry's advice to government as the work of activists, and evidence of the cruelty to and suffering of regularly mis-shot kangaroos is labelled as 'extreme'. Meanwhile, the industry commissions its own work to produce explicitly industry-biased materials which are then presented as independent research to overseas governments and an unsuspecting Australian public.
The links between the KIAA and governments and their partnered funding of marketing and promotional research reveal a powerful web of interests, a lack of independent oversight or peer-reviewed science, and a closed shop of industry-funded 'scientific expertise'. This decades-long, highly successful strategising and marketing by industry has diverted attention from the compelling concerns raised by the nomination to the New South Wales Scientific Committee that kangaroos are indeed at risk. It is time that federal and state governments actually engaged with this issue independently, scientifically and in good faith. Given the historical antipathy towards our iconic species, histories of other so-called superabundant species suggest this needs to happen urgently. Thank you.
Sad Update: "I am so sorry but I have some terrible news. I have just found Potsei dead at 6.30 am, she has been hit by a car. Potsei had a very immature dead joey in her pouch." Two days ago the news was that Potsei, in the photo, "now has many boyfriends who love to keep watch over her. She is such a beauty."
Two days ago, this was the "Breaking News:.....Not 100% sure but there could be a joey on the way, which by my calculations, might pop its head out around August..... watch this space!"
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) is gravely concerned by the ‘use and commercialisation of Australian native animals’, their extinction rates, cruelty inflicted on them, and recreational hunting. Even more so, given that Australia has the world’s highest extinction rate. Instead of apologising for crimes against nature, the Victorian State Government seeks to extend further exploitation.
(Candobetter Ed. Some headings in this submission have been changed for clarity of presentation.)
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
288 Brunswick Street
Environment Policy Division
Department of Sustainability and Environment
PO Box 500 East Melbourne VIC 3002
With reference to
Wildlife Regulations 2013 Regulatory Impact Statement
3 May 2013
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council appreciates the opportunity to provide a submission.
We are gravely concerned by the ‘use and commercialisation of Australian native animals’, their extinction rates, cruelty inflicted on them, recreational hunting. Even more so, given that Australia has the world’s highest extinction rate.
Instead of apologising for crimes against nature, Government seeks to extend further exploitation.
"Protected" wildlife should remain protected.
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) was founded in 1969.
Our members are dedicated to the preservation of Australia’s native animals, their protection from exploitation, and any other cruelty to which they are routinely subjected, so that they can live safe in their native habitat across their natural ranges.
We seek their freedom from lethal controls, agricultural toxins, herbicides, pesticides, and poisons like 1080, fenthion, fenitrothion. We believe that wildlife needs to be protected and conserved in their natural ecological habitats.
We seek a change in attitudes, especially when they are needlessly killed, poisoned, commercialised and otherwise persecuted.
We aim to promote the intrinsic qualities of kangaroos and Australia's wildlife heritage so that viable populations are seen as desirable and valuable.
We aim to promote the viewing of large mobs of kangaroos as a first class wildlife experience and support the development and marketing of wildlife-based tourism.
The letter below totally encapsulates the opinion of AWPC, we are repulsed by the subaltern attitude with which DSE and this Government treat the citizens of this state.
The Age, April 27/28/2013 Joan Reilly, Surrey Hills
“The state government is reviewing the wildlife regulations but, although the consultation concludes in less than a week, readers of “The Age” are unlikely to have heard of it. The relevant notices were placed only in the Murdoch tabloid and the Government Gazette, some three weeks ago”.
Members of the public and animal welfare groups and animals themselves are omitted from the list of stakeholders affected by the proposals. Anyone concerned to find out about new rules for those who trap, keep, breed, trade, kill or process wildlife will need to peruse some 200 pages of proposals and also refer back to about 80 pages of existing regulations to understand what will change”.
“The focus is on economic benefit to businesses and reduced public sector workload.
The arrogance of this regulation by stealth is breathtaking”.
“There is a strong and growing interest in the Victorian community to keep wildlife as pets”.
While some smaller native animals such as reptiles, fish and birds can be housed and cared for appropriately as pets, we do not endorse opening up more wildlife species for commercial sales.
“Without the regulations in place, there would be no authorising mechanism to allow legal trade, possession and use of wildlife in Victoria”.
We appreciate that wildlife parks will breed native animals to keep their populations relevant and viable.
However, “there is also a demand for the farming of some species of wildlife, the processing of wildlife products, the control of wildlife causing problems to people through disturbance or damage to property and the private possession of mounted wildlife”.
Kangaroos, in particular, cannot be farmed; kangaroos cannot be yarded, herded or transported as are domestic livestock. AWPC vigorously opposes “farming” of wildlife, the use of their body parts as such practices ignore the most basic behavioural and dietary needs of this living behaving biological entity. “Control” of wildlife is already out of control.
“DSE estimates that the annual expenditure on wildlife by private and commercial licence holders is in the order of $63.7 million per annum”.
There's a very malicious and anthropocentric attitude that wildlife are obliged to satisfy some usefulness to humans, to contribute to pleasure, entertainment or commercial profits, and conversely, wildlife can be eliminated if they cause any “problems”, “disturbance” or “damage” to property or profits of landholders. Wildlife should remain wild, and should not have to justify their existence in monetary terms. The harvest of native animals from their native habitat is prohibited under the Wildlife Act 1975. This should remain the case and legislation regarding wildlife should be primarily for conservation, protection, and education.
The need for regulations
“New regulatory proposals, including the remaking of expired regulations that impose a significant economic or social burden on a sector of the public, require the preparation of a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS)”.
The “economic” and “social burden” is green tape designed to protect wildlife. Wildlife issues must be addressed holistically, and landholders need to be given expert advice on land use and wildlife deterrents to avoid conflicts. The efficiency and effectiveness of regulations should endorse their original aims and objectives, not increase human gain and economic benefits. Tragically, many unique animals are found nowhere else but south-eastern Australia, Victoria. Yet, they are being pushed to the brink of extinction by habitat loss, introduced species, infectious diseases, fire, urban sprawl and climate change. Clearly, the excessive numbers of human activities means that present legislation and policies to protect wildlife in Victoria are not working, and species are being lost. The Wildlife Act 1975 needs to be upgraded to create better guarantees for species protection, more native habitat for their long-term survival, and interconnecting bio-links (wildlife corridors) to save species.
"The purposes of the Wildlife Act 1975 (Vic) are:
to establish procedures in order to promote -
the protection and conservation of wildlife; and
the prevention of taxa of wildlife from becoming extinct; and
the sustainable use of and access to wildlife; and
to prohibit and regulate the conduct of persons engaged in activities concerning or related to wildlife."
AWPC does not support any “use” of wildlife except for educational and conservation purposes. The original aim of the Wildlife Act 1975 must be strengthened, to provide greater protection of habitat, elimination and/or control of introduced species, fire, urban sprawl and climate change. Australia’s unique wildlife lived safely in near-pristine environments for millions of years, but European settlement has taken a catastrophic toll on their long-term survival. Exemptions for landholders, those with vested interests to utilise wildlife, would create more deaths, increase illegal trade and commercial profits.
3. Proposed wildlife regulations
The proposed regulations incorporate some new provisions and changes, including streamlining some licence categories, resetting fees, adding a number of new species that may be kept and introducing multi-year licences.
We object to “adding a number of new species” that may be kept by the public. Native birds live in flocks. Isolating them in cages is a tragic existence.
It is ethically wrong to keep pet birds in tiny cages where flying is inhibited. Native parrots and cockatoos should not be confined in cages but only in aviaries with sufficient height, depth and width for flight and social interaction with other birds. Cockatoos are large birds and have large requirements. They are not suitable as backyard pets in cages. The numbers in cages need to be limited according to space. (experts must specify according to size, breed and behaviours). They need to be only kept in very large aviaries, in wildlife parks or in regional areas with carers experienced in the care of native parrots and cockatoos - and their special needs.
Native mammals need habitat and specialised food sources to live ethically and naturally. There are already a large variety of domestic pet species of animals available; pet rescue centres struggle to provide services to keep up with demand. We have “death row” for unwanted and homeless cats and dogs, puppy factories that churn out puppies to an already over-saturated market. Cruelty, neglect, over-breeding, abandonment are the flip-side of our so-called pet-friendly society.
It is immoral and unethical to add native animals to these shocking statistics.
Wildlife controller licences are to be categorised into 2 types.
AWPC is already concerned by the liberal and excessive way DSE hand out licences to “control” wildlife with Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) permits, without first obtaining expert advice on alternatives to killing, or even checking to see if there is justification that such “control” is valid.
Two categories for “controlling” wildlife is odious, undesirable and totally unnecessary. Instead there needs to be more DSE wildlife officers on the road, visiting farmers and landholders, and making sure that lethal “control” is the LAST RESORT not the first option.
The ATCW permit system is only a quasi set of rules and regulations and is in desperate need of total law reform as evidenced in our letter to Greg Wilson, Secretary DSE dated 26 August 2012.
Wildlife Processors Licence
AWPC is extremely concerned about this licence, the “processing” of wildlife for commercial benefits is something that the AWPC strongly opposes and we believe this licence is a thinly veiled attempt to usher into Victoria a commercial Kangaroo industry.
We are very aware of the changes the Victorian Government has made to the Ministerial control of the Wildlife Act the majority of which is under the control of Peter Walsh Minister for Agriculture and Food Safety which begs the question; what connection is there between wildlife and agriculture? Apart from the frequent issuing of ATCW’s It has been proven on many occasions that a commercial kangaroo industry in Victoria isn’t ecologically sustainable. (CSIRO 1982)
The DSE issues thousands of permits to cull kangaroos in Victoria each year - with the aim of controlling wild populations. Carcasses are often left to rot on the ground after a cull creating potential disease risks while providing a food source for feral animals and in turn, encouraging the growth of fox populations.
The practice of leaving Kangaroo carcasses on the ground has germinated the idea that these carcasses should be available for commercial use, hence the need for a ‘processor’s licence’
The commercial use of Kangaroo carcasses shot under and ATCW permit is insanity because of the logistics of collection, hygiene and knowledge of where and when Kangaroo culling will occur.
The issuing of a processors license for this reason, no matter how illogical or unsustainable it may be does however serve a purpose and AWPC believes this purpose is the subterfuge introduction of a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria once processor licenses are available.
A new category of wildlife licence, the Dingo Licence, has been introduced for those wishing to keep dingoes. This will incur a fee similar to a Wildlife Advanced Licence.
We note that some native rats, cockatoos and parrots have been added to the list of species:
Schedule 4A means that there's no licence for commercial trade or possession. There will be little regulation for this species and they will be sold at market. They will end up similar to gold fish or canaries, with no guarantee for their welfare or specialised social, spatial and environmental needs.
4. Regulatory Impact Statement
“Wildlife enthusiasts will benefit from continued recreational wildlife ownership opportunities and businesses that possess, trade or use wildlife will benefit from a well- managed, legal and robust industry”.
The AWPC opposes industrialisation or the commercialisation of wildlife. The idea of a “robust” industry is contrary to the aim of conservation and animal welfare policies of the AWPC. We do not want or support the economic growth of “industries” associated with wildlife, unless they support their holistic conservation and education of the public.
5. Monitoring and Enforcement
“Monitoring of licence holders will be carried out through targeted and random inspections of premises and record books by DSE Wildlife Compliance Officers or in response to suspected illegal activity or non-compliance with the requirement to submit annual returns”.
If there are enough Victorian government personal resources for these random inspections, they should include random inspections of property owners before they are able to lethally “control” (kill) wildlife.
Wildlife Farmer Licence
The AWPC do not approve of “farms” of wildlife. Emu farms means that emus become another exotic “meat” source and end up bred in captivity, contrary to our policies. Emus belong to the oldest living family of birds on earth, the rarities or flightless fowl. They are nomads, designed by 90 million years of evolution to roam over vast tracks of land.
Subjecting emus with their long thin necks and legs, and large fragile eyes, to transport is cruel and inhumane. Slaughter bound birds and mammals are typically starved for hours, even days before they are killed. Hauled in all kinds of weather, they are forced to endure truck vibrations, heat, stress, cold, damp, thirst and terror. They are then shot with a captive bolt, like cattle or, like poultry, electrically shocked (not stunned) and then hung upside down to have their throats cut, being kept alive when their blood drains. They are slaughtered at 12-15 months of age. This is degrading, and trivialising these unique birds. Adding any “game” birds to this farming category is unconscionable and unethical.
Game Bird Farmer Licence
“Allows the holder to farm game birds that have been bred in captivity for the purpose of releasing them on a specified premise for hunting (from Part A of Schedule 5 and specified in the licence)”.
We do not believe in the recreation of hunting wildlife. Breeding in captivity for hunting is akin to canned hunting, and is something which is abhorrent to wildlife activists and lovers.
Attachment (A ) - Key changes in the proposed Wildlife Regulations 2013
“Wildlife Controller Licence Allows the holder to take wildlife from the wild and to destroy, dispose of or sell that wildlife for the purpose of removing danger to persons or property from that wildlife (from Schedule 6, and specified in the licence)”.
Examples of species that may be controlled under this licence are venomous snakes, deer, Common Brushtail Possums and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos”.
Deer are NOT Australian wildlife. Common Brushtail Possums and Sulphur-crested Cockatoo never endanger human lives, and there are non-lethal methods of deterring their impacts.
Possums are native wildlife. All native wildlife is protected under the Wildlife Act 1975. There are non-lethal ways of dealing with possums, such as relocation and trees and gardens around our houses provide modified woodland similar to their natural habitat. People and possums can live together successfully.
There are companies that supply engineering controls for cockatoos, including ultrasonic devices, kites and other visual deterrents, low voltage shock tape, birdspikes and noise deterrents.
[Any Proposal for a Commercial Kangaroo Industry in Victoria..].
AWPC advises that should consideration be given to the introduction of a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria, the following must be carefully read and understood before any final decisions are made.
Weekly Times article favours commercial kangaroo culls
“The ban on commercial processing of culled kangaroos in Victoria must be lifted, the Competition and Efficiency Commission has told the State Government. A draft commission report said the ban appeared ‘unnecessarily burdensome’. The Weekly Times asked Victorian Environment Minister Ryan Smith for comment on the issue, but was referred instead to the office of Treasurer Kim Wells... The commission also called on the Government to simplify the process for obtaining permits, estimating the cost of issuing each Authority to Control Wildlife Permit (ATCW) was about $480... ‘Taking into account the need for a site visit and the rigor of the permit system...yields an administrative cost of approximately $480, or $863,000 across industry”, the VCEC report said.
Victoria is the only mainland state to prohibit commercial processing of its kangaroos...” Source: Peter Hunt, 'Processing Ban ROO-Turn, Hop to it', Weekly Times, April 6, 2011.
Relative to the above Weekly times article, AWPC Submits:
"The density of grey kangaroos in western Victoria and south-eastern South Australia is only 15% of that recorded for the pastoral zone of New South Wales. Such low densities reflect the effect of intensive land use and the marginal nature for kangaroos in remaining areas of natural vegetation.” With exponential human population growth and devastation of a prolonged drought, a commercial kangaroo ‘harvest’ for Victoria would be economically unviable/ unsustainable. Kangaroos are facing more threats than ever today, with the 13 year long drought, tragic bushfires, loss of gene pool, urban expansion, floods, disease and climate change factors. Why push them further into ‘extinction’ mode, and threaten their survival even further? This is what commercial profits for kangaroo meat will do.
Kangaroo meat was classified as Game Meat in 1989 by a Game Meat Working Party, established by the Federal Government. The decision to remove kangaroos from the protected List and change their status to Game Meat was made because: (a) Kangaroo meat could not meet domestic health standards and (b) No animal welfare or conservation groups were present
Ramifications of fevered meat entering the food chain is explained by Dr John Auty, Historian, Veterinarian and former Federal Bureau of Animal Health, Canberra, ACT.
“Meat hygiene standards require for all classes of animals that any condition that can cause elevation of body temperature has the potential to cause the condition known as ‘fevered’ meat. Such meat is unsuitable for human consumption.
A condition causing blindness in kangaroos, stress, inability to eat or to find water, elevation of body temperature etc. should result in condemnation of the meat from such diseased animals. It is immaterial if this condition causes generalised septicaemia or not”.
“Kangaroo shooters are not competent to judge disease in animals ante mortem unless the disease is well advanced and it is not in their economic interests to reject animals (kangaroos)”.
“The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) inspectors inspect kangaroos only after they are transferred to coastal BONING establishments i.e. after they have been eviscerated in the field. Such meat hygiene standards are not acceptable for domestic animals”.
“Whereas the diseases that affect domestic animals are well understood and form the basis for modern meat hygiene, the diseases affecting kangaroos are virtually unknown and there are virtually no Veterinarians based in the areas in which kangaroos are shot”.
How Clean is the Kill?
“Kangaroos are wild animals shot in the outback and they lay on the ground with the flies, airborne bacteria, faeces of other animals and other contaminants. Some of the diseases associated with kangaroo meat are:
*Salmonellae *Coxiella *Sarcocysts *Nematodes *Fasciolia Hepatic Flukes *Subcutaneous and Musculature Cysts *Hydatid Cysts Kangaroos carry internal and external parasites and a range of diseases
The outbreak of a blindness disease infection (Choroid Blindness) which spread across four states in the years ’94, ’95, ’96 caused the death of an estimated one million kangaroos and represented a serious ecological problem to kangaroo populations. Government attempted to keep the issue out of the public arena and displayed ineptitude and an appalling lack of responsibility.
Blind kangaroos were killed or died after jumping in front of traffic, drowning after falling into flowing rivers or starving because they could not find pasture. Source: AWPC 1999. ‘Diseases in Kangaroo Meat’ in The Kangaroo BETRAYED, Hill of Content Melbourne, pp 31-33)
Kangaroos and wallabies can harbour a wide range of parasitic, bacterial, fungal and viral diseases and the majority of infections are unapparent (i.e. animals appear normal). Even meat inspection procedures are unlikely to detect some infections unless gross lesions are detected or routine samples are taken for microbiological and pathological testing.
Worldwide, it is recognised that so-called ‘game meats’ are a source of these infections for hunters, processors and consumers, especially when care is not taken while eviscerating and handling the carcasses or when the meat from these animals is served undercooked or raw. Trichinosis, cysticercosis and toxoplasmosis are examples of parasitic zoonoses (i.e. diseases transmissible from animals to humans).
In Australia, Toxoplasmosis and the bacterial disease, Salmonellosis are two infections with public health significance directly related to the handling, processing and consumption of kangaroo meat. The October issue of Woman’s’ Day (1995) reported that a food-borne outbreak of toxoplasmosis caused acute clinical illnesses in 12 humans and one case of congenital chorio-retinitis (inflammation of the eye tissues) in a new born baby. The mother of the affected baby together with the 12 other people had attended a Christmas function at which rare kangaroo medallions were served. A thorough epidemiological investigation concluded that the most likely ‘risk food’ was the kangaroo meat.
Even ‘new’ human diseases have been shown to have origins in Australian game meat. In 1993 the first confirmed human case of Pseudotrichinosis was diagnosed. The medical investigators concluded that the patient became infected in Tasmania through eating meat, most probably derived from a wild animal. Subsequent research conducted at the University of Tasmania showed that about 2% of Tasmanians surveyed had antibodies to this muscle-encysting nematode.
Professor John Goldsmid, Lecturer in Microbiology at the University of Tasmania expressed his scientific concerns about the lack of research into a range of diseases and parasites transmissible between Tasmanian native animals and humans.
Australia has no dedicated research or diagnostic facility to investigate wildlife diseases. Detections of new diseases are handled on an ad hoc basis by government or university laboratories.
Possums trapped overnight in wire cages (comparable to that described in the brush possum code) show that cage distress and attempts to escape causes muscle damage comparable to capture-stress myopathy of deer. Tasmania is the only State of Australia listed by the WHO as having endemic trichinosis in its wildlife. The Tasmanian Department responsible for permitting a game meat industry denied there was a public health risk associated with the harvesting and processing of Tasmanian possum. Tasmanian wildlife harbour parasitic diseases which are serious infections in humans.
A recent scientific report of the International Health Organisation, the Office Internationale des Epizootes warns that wild animal meats which are raw, undercooked, dried or cold-smoked are potentially infectious to animal or humans that consume them.
The incidence of Toxoplasma abortions and infertility is amongst the highest in Australia. Free ranging wallabies, pademelons, bandicoots and wombats are regularly killed by this infection and surveys show a high percentage of wallabies harbour this infection.
The concern is that chefs and food raconteurs recommend cooking methods which would not kill this parasite.
A newly identified worm thought to be derived from marsupials was found to be responsible for acute illness in two humans. Like Trichinella they invade muscles. The worms are thought to belong to a class of nematodes known as Muscpiceoids. In wallabies and possums these nematodes live in several tissues of the body and can invade muscles.
In his paper to the University of Tasmania (1997 114 ), Professor John Goldsmid said, "Kliks (1983) identified the aetiological agents of human infectious diseases as "heirloom" or "souvenir" species, depending on their evolutionary association with humans. Amongst the most important of the souvenir species are the zoonotic infections, infecting humans as a result of animal-human contact of some kind and varying from companionable contact to utilisation of animals as a food source.
In the last 25 or so years, of 35 new or newly recognised infections in humans, 20 (57%) have been zoonotic in origin - some trivial, some devastating to both the individual and the community.
With the increase in the numbers of immunocompromised people in the community resulting from medical treatment or as a result of the spread of AIDS, the problem of zoonotic infections will continue and there seems little doubt that the likely source for many of these new human infections in Australia will be the native animal population.
People who eat undercooked wallaby or kangaroo meat could be at risk of infection by a newly-discovered animal parasite, Australian doctors have warned. The parasite was found in a Tasmanian man who suffered from inexplicable and severe muscle weakness over a number of years. He was known to consume large quantities of game. ("Parasite Risk to Game Eaters" November 7, 1997 Animal Pharmacology No. 384)
Laboratory tests suggests that the parasite is a new species of microscopic worm. It may also have been responsible for a similar infection in a New Zealand woman who had eaten wallaby meat while visiting Tasmania.
"The cases highlight the risks of eating wild game, the parasites of which are poorly understood compared with those of livestock. More studies are needed to identify disease agents in these animals and to elucidate the role of native animal species in the transmission of diseases to humans."
Victorian Competition and Efficiency Commission (VCEC) call for commercial kangaroo industry
Victoria has no fauna management framework;
Victoria has no scientific kangaroo population data. Given there is no population data, commercial utilization is economically unviable and unsustainable for survival of kangaroos.
DSE data base fails threatened species
Roads are a Threatening process
Genetic variability / Wildlife Corridors and to re-connect bio-links to save species
Human induced threats and self-limiting factors control kangaroo populations
Climate change/ population growth driving species to extinction Climate change/ population growth driving species to extinction
DSE has a Duty of Care -Kangaroos are not a Commodity to be bartered and sold
We know that overwhelmingly, it is mostly ‘hobby farmers’ who seek ATCW permits. We seek Regulations for ATCW permits to be issued only to landowners whose sole income is from legitimate farming, as opposed to ‘hobby’ farmers for tax deductibility write offs.
Left just with the sole income farmers, this becomes an area that needs education/ awareness of productive farming in harmony with biodiversity and ecosystems; Learn to live with wildlife.
This is the only way to stop the ethically, morally and humanely deficient and farcical practice of DSE issuing ATCW kill kangaroo Permits in Victoria.
Prove that the ATCW permits DSE gives away like candy are legitimate, with tight conditions
This is particularly pertinent to wildlife carers who already suffer from ATCW permits given to adjoining landowners placing at risk the very kangaroos they have a license to hand rear.
Under the current system it costs Victorian tax payers for landowners to kill protected kangaroos without their say or consent; (yet taxpayers have to pay hefty $$$ for FOI)
Why then is this cost not passed onto the landowner if they are benefitting from it?
DSE data base fails kangaroos and threatened species
In Victoria 2006, Exec Director Dr Ian Miles arranged for Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) Adrian Moorrees, Project Manager, Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Division to demonstrate to AWPC, the DSE Actions Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) Data Base system. We discovered that “DSE uses an inadequate Victoria-wide definition of ‘threatened’ which means that local populations can be extinguished without sounding the alarm so long as some numbers remain for the whole state ; pockets where animals appear numerous, due to fragmented populations trapped in small areas, are not assigned official ‘threatened’ status. Little effective tab is kept of numbers. More and more native species simply vanish, Sheila Newman, Environmental and Land Use Planning Sociologist for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
In Hamilton the west of the state, will argue that every other state has Environment Australia-approved management plans to harvest kangaroos for export. But in Victoria kangaroos are culled only for damage control. Annually, 9000-30,000 animals are authorised to be destroyed. The council will argue there is a potential commercial use for these kangaroo products, but current regulations did not allow culled kangaroos to be moved from where they died.
Ms Wolf-Tasker said it was "wonderful to see a council being pro-active on this''. "We've used kangaroo meat here for a decade but because of Victoria's rule we have to buy it from South Australia, despite kangaroos being culled here,'' she said. "Kangaroo is a great, healthy product. "It is has a more gamey flavour and is one of the last wild foods. "It is wonderful to use it with locally-grown indigenous plants from this area, such as the mountain pepper.'' Ms Wolf-Tasker said consumers increasingly wanted to know where their meat came from and kangaroo was a very popular, "natural, wild food''.
Despite concerns raised by some animal rights groups over using kangaroo meat for human consumption, Ms Wolf-Tasker said if the "necessary culling was properly regulated, using the meat for human consumption could prevent the waste of what is a very good product''. She said kangaroos needed to be culled when in plague proportions because they "caused havoc on farms and in the local environment''. A spokeswoman for Environment Minister Ryan Smith said yesterday the State Government was evaluating the feasibility of commercial harvesting of wild kangaroos with advice from the Department of Primary Industries. "We will await the outcome of that work before making decision about possible changes to regulation to allow commercial kangaroo harvesting,'' she said.
THINKK, the think tank for kangaroos, based at the University of Technology Sydney and supported by Voiceless, released two reports late last year examining the killing of kangaroos in Australia. Each year over three million kangaroos are ‘harvested’ and over a million joeys are killed as part of the commercial industry. This is the largest land-based slaughter of wildlife in the world.
The reports, titled “Advocating kangaroo meat: towards ecological benefit or plunder?” and “Shooting our wildlife: An analysis of the law and policy governing the killing of kangaroos”, conclude that:
emerging science indicates that kangaroos are not pests;
over 20 years of harvesting kangaroos has had no demonstrable environmental benefit;
increased consumption of kangaroo meat by humans is likely to place kangaroo populations at risk;
State governments once treated kangaroos as agricultural pests yet today they are treated as a resource;
The current law is a form of legalised cruelty.
Please download the reports by following this link. http://www.voiceless.org.au/About_Us/Misc/THINKK_the_think_tank_for_kangaroos.html
For additional information about THINKK, please visit their website at http://thinkkangaroos.uts.edu.au.
From Conservation to Exploitation in South Australia
“In any wild animal if you disrupt in a short period of time the normal reproduction processes that have evolved over tens of thousands of years you are in danger of putting the species at risk. Precedents have been set in other parts of the world where large populations of a species ( seals. Bison, wolves etc) have faced extinction after widespread and destructive ‘culling’ programs. Many of these species suffered incursion of exotic bacterias and viruses when their populations contained a critical and unsustainable gene pool.
To be able to undertake the largest wildlife slaughter in the world today it was necessary to undertake a long and sustained program of misinformation within Australia to convince the community that these animals are in plague proportions throughout the country areas of Australia. This was achieved by presenting he animal as a “resource” that needed to be exploited. A program of ‘shoot and let lie’ would have avoided the introduction of commercial pressures (COOMA, ACT and surrounds + MUDGEE and surrounds) on the wild animals and forced the introduction of the less destructive commercial ‘alternative’.
Where farmers and pastoralists (with sheep, cattle and crops) are in competition with any native animal, the government administrators always favour the land owner. Whatever native animal is involved, that animal is marked for destruction.
There are many examples of this entrenched ‘destructive culture’, now being undertaken in South Australia.” Source: Chapter ‘From Conservation to Exploitation in South Australia’ by Doug Reilly Macropod expert in the AWPC 1999 publication, The Kangaroo BetrayedHill of Content, Melbourne, p.37.
Maryland Wilson President
Vivienne Ortega Vice President
Cienwen Hickey Research
Sheila Newman Environmental Sociologist Land Use Planner
On 22 February 2012 former Premier Ted Baillieu issued a change in the Administration of Acts under a General Order. He allocated sections of the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 and sections of the Wildlife Act 1975 to Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh. These sections ‘legally’ paved the way for a commercial kangaroo killing industry to be re-introduced into Victoria, after having been banned for many good reasons in 1982.
(Pictures adapted from Brett Clifton collection.)
More signs that agriculture is swamping legislation to protect native animals
Minister Walsh has close connections with the Victorian Farmers Federation (VFF), (President from 1998 – 2000), Parliamentary Coalition positions including Agriculture, Water, Environment and Climate Change, Country Water Resources and is on Parliament’s Environment, Natural Resources Committee. Prior to Parliament, he ran an irrigated horticulture, grain growing business at Boort. This makes negotiations with farmers easy, when allowing kangaroo shooters to enter rural properties etc.
Peter Walsh is also Minister responsible for the Meat Industry Act 1993, which covers the standards for meat production for human consumption and pet food. It sets up a licensing & inspection system and a mechanism for adopting and implementing quality assurance programs to ensure that those standards are maintained. This includes the regulation of meat transport vehicles and Victorian Meat Authority.
Incredibly Walsh is also Minister for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986.
Why Victoria has continuously banned commercial slaughter of roos to date
Commercial slaughter of Kangaroos was banned in 1982 by the Cain Government.
Its' reintroduction was raised in 2002 by Premier Steve Bracks and was fully investigated by the Environmental and Natural Resources Committee of Parliament (ENRC). ENRC recommended that the development of an industry based on the harvest of wild Kangaroos should not be supported in Victoria. The Victorian Government declared no further assessment be made as the matter was previously the subject of a detailed study that had concluded the industry was economically unviable.
Government-push to overpopulate has dire consequences for wildlife
Since this Ban was introduced, there has been an unprecedented rate of unsustainable, exponential human population growth necessitating greater and greater urban and peri-urban development. It has been Victorian Government policy not to support a commercial harvest of Kangaroos based on:
* Low densities of Kangaroos in Victoria.
* The high cost of administrative checks and balances.
* Strong opposition from sectors of the community.
*Victoria's terrain and vegetation cover makes accurate counting of Kangaroos very difficult and consequently nobody knows how many Kangaroos there are in Victoria.
*Since this Ban was introduced, there has been an unprecedented rate of unsustainable population growth necessitating greater and greater urban and peri-urban development.
*All native wildlife which inhabited the claimed areas have been displaced, especially Kangaroos. This has lead to Kangaroo numbers being fragmented and trapped in concentrated areas of suburban sprawl.
* Landholders perceive this to be an increase to Kangaroo numbers, so they issue Authority To Control Wildlife (ATCW) kill permits which have increased exponentially and dramatically.
* Victoria has NO Fauna Management Framework
Victorian DSE an open sore that will not heal
DSE is now under considerable fire for failing to implement the Wildlife Act 1975 and the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 under which they have mandatory obligations to protect native animals.
If the Victorian Government re-introduces a commercial industry to placate the wishes of landholders, kangaroos would be decimated; there simply are not enough kangaroos to sustain an industry.
There is no justification for a commercial Kangaroo industry in Victoria. NSW, Qld, WA and SA have commercial Kangaroo industries and are experiencing closure of processing plants and shooters leaving the industry in droves because the market for Kangaroo meat has fallen dramatically. The only money to be made is in the sale of skins which is a totally unacceptable base, to provide profits for a greedy few.
Inhumane policies to wildlife, especially kangaroos
The Victorian Government has a mandate to manage the affairs of this state on behalf of the residents and Victorian families and individuals. The Australian Wildlife Protection Council strenuously objects to the Napthine Government re-introducing a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria.
The fact that this is being undertaken by stealth compels the Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) to advise the Victorian Premier of its intense disapproval:
* The inhumane treatment to kangaroos from misfired shots, orphaned young, stress on family mobs, cruel disposal of Joeys and loss of genetic integrity, variability of the gene pool are well known ..
* Not only is this industry unsustainable and un-Australian but it would bring danger into our bush land where international visitors should be safe.
* That costs of researching & feasibility of this industry is paid for by Victorian tax payers is shameful.
* The only people to gain will be landholders, kangaroo processors, shooters and chiller operators.
* Since Russia banned import of Kangaroo product in 2009, the industry in Australia has plummeted.
* Markets for Kangaroo meat are limited as 75% of the meat from a Kangaroo is used for pet food; a deplorable waste of a misunderstood, beloved, unique, iconic native animal, and tax payer’s money.
Wildlife corridors, not tollways!
Victorian government should establish interconnecting wildlife corridors to provide Bio-Links to save species . It should protect the gene pool, educate children to respect native animals, and (rather than destroy them) trans-locate kangaroos as Professor Steve Garlick and his wife Dr Rosemary Austen have successfully accomplished many times.
The Australian Wildlife Protection Council strongly urges Victoria's current Premier, Denis Napthine, not to reintroduce a commercial Kangaroo industry into Victoria.
The author of this article, Maryland Wilson, is the President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
On the Sunshine Coast development has destroyed a great deal of the beautiful natural surroundings that attracted people there in the first place. Native animals are being cruelly decimated by starvation and exposure.
Developers seem animated by greed alone, machinally moonscaping lots when buyer uptake has dropped to 1996 levels in Australia, despite constant mass immigration. The developer lobbies have not been able to restimulate demand, even by touting for overseas immigrants and selling property to foreign investors off the plan. (That doesn't stop them charging huge fees for membership.)
Photos by Brett Clifton
We need laws to imprison developers who ruin nature but they now run our parliaments
The conduct of developers in needlessly clearing land merits new laws that would imprison them for gross vandalism, cruelty to animals and dangerous greenhouse gas generation. The main reason that Australia lacks effective laws to protect wildlife and that it seems helpless before the grotesque appetites for speculative profits of property developers is because of the Labor and Liberal Parties' huge investment in property development and financing and the cancerous presence in State parliaments of property developers or people who represent their interests over those of other citizens.
Citizens feel helpless against residential developers
James Ray, who is a resident of the Sunshine Coast, moved into a development a little while ago. He enjoyed seeing wildlife in the surrounding bushland. Although he had some idea that this bushland was also marked for development, he was shocked to see these areas cleared way ahead of lots actually being sold. He protested that this seemed premature, but also asked why buyers could not buy lots with trees retained on them and clear them only if they chose. He wrote to his council about this in an article published at http://www.sunshinecoastdaily.com.au/news/ancient-bush-levelled/1794757/
Why clear land brutally and unnecessarily?
There seems no good answer to this question of why clear land unnecessarily except for the corruption in parliament and of our economic system.
In fact Australia should not be clearing any more land for housing at all and it should not be artificially growing its population either. The two things are related. We have huge immigration numbers coming in all the time, inflating prices. Investors in property development lobby constantly for mass immigration. The cost of land is now so high that even this population pressure is not producing more buyers, it is simply displacing people already here, by pricing people out of the market and into homelessness, or leaving only the option of sharing with relatives or living in group houses.
What is happening to our wildlife is a weeping sore in our society. It is consuming and deforming our whole way of life. Although Queensland and West Australia are the worst for recent wildlife annihilation due to state-induced rapid population growth, the older states had already cleared too much to keep on clearing. In Victoria, the most cleared state, population growth has outpaced New South Wales due to State Government policies that ram development down the throats of local communities despite continuous protests.
Stupidly stealing habitat from native animals and the ignorance of people
It seems that the Sunshine Coast is a dark and depressing place for those who love nature. In Victoria, in an outer suburb, also called Sunshine, things are very gloomy too.
Pamela, who lives in Sunshine Victoria, and works in animal welfare, writes:
"Every time we steal more habitat from our native animals people are stupidly surprised to see kangaroos looking lost on a new vacant block where their habitat used to be. They wander down new cul-de-sacs or get hit by cars.
People come into contact with them and call them 'pests' just because they're still there.
People believe kanga numbers are 'exploding' just because they are more visible without their Australian bush to hide in for protection from humans and dogs. When the truth is their numbers are actually dwindling because of floods, dogs, dumb human hunters, vehicle strike and bushfires.
Those who spread the myths of 'ballooning populations' are only the shooters and hunters who have a vested interest in killing them.
We also have a spate of vicious attacks on kangaroos by yobbos. Kangaroos are being shot with arrows, hacked to death, beheaded, joeys are being ripped from pouches and swung against the bullbars of utes or dragged behind them until dead.
I work in animal welfare and these sorts of brutality are an ongoing problem in this country. We should be ashamed of ourselves for the way we treat the animals we proudly display on our Coat of Arms."
 "House Sales Drop: The number of houses and units sold in Australia last year dropped to 256,559, the lowest level of transactions since 1996, according to RP Data. The second half was 7.6 per cent stronger than the first, but analyst Cameron Kusher said a further incease in sales would be needed to underpin more price rises." Australian Financial Review, 10-17 March 2013, p. 3. Candobetter Editorial Comment: This is a sociopathic policy, to keep housing prices up for the benefit of the few who care more about their investments than in the country, and the disbenefit of the vast majority, who go into debt and homelessness because of this Australian political and economic phenomenon that corrupt parliaments encourage.
Life as a Wildlife carer has given me a rare insight into the world of the beautiful Kangaroo. I have witnessed first hand the threats they continually face and will continue to face in a world so entrenched with a greed mentality. As urban sprawl spreads like an out of control Cancer, the demise of the Kangaroo, I believe, is imminent. They won’t make a noise, they won’t fight back, the Kangaroo will just disappear. History will, unfortunately, repeat itself, Australia is an expert at achieving Wildlife extinctions.
This story is dedicated to the 453 Belconnen Kangaroos Killed by the A.C.T. Government in a Kangaroo Management Cull, 2009.
Message from a Belconnen Kangaroo
'Reflection In My Eyes'
I’ve lived peacefully here for a while now
But my time is up, we’ve been blamed somehow,
For the neglect and greed of man.
No gratitude for our contribution to
The balance of the land.
I ask you as I lay dying before you,
Look into my innocent eyes and reflect upon the injustice
You have given us, all because of lies.
(by Leisa Moore)
The Kangaroo Industry and the Australian Government’s aim is to brainwash the public into believing that if Kangaroo numbers were not managed they would be out of control.
My account of observations and experiences with Kangaroos over the last twenty five years , I believe, proves otherwise. I have come to this conclusion without the need of tracking collars or a film crew, just time, patience, passion and an undying love for Kangaroos.
My discovery of animal love and compassion spans from Gooby to Kobei, with a variety of animals along the way. Fifty years of experiences, some incredibly beautiful, others terribly traumatic. My first realisation that animals experienced feelings occurred at the age of three in the backyard while peddling around the cement pathways of the cottage garden on my bike. Gooby was my first cat, a long haired Tabby, I adored him. Gooby’s tail was laying across the path blocking my racing circuit and I can vividly remember questioning myself about what his reaction would be if I casually ran over it. I stopped peddling and seriously contemplated doing the deed but decided, with the help of a piercing stare from my Mum watching me through the kitchen window and a deep affection for Gooby, it was not such a good idea.
I dismounted my bike and carefully picked up Gooby who greeted me with his soft purr and gentle smooch and decided it was time to have an afternoon sleep with my beautiful Cat. It was at that very moment I awakened to the fact that animals have feelings and emotions. I have in the fifty years since that day experienced many beautiful moments which are also etched into my heart and have added to convince me that animals have an incredible capacity to love and care for, not only their own species, but also Humans.
In The Beginning
I have been a Wildlife carer specialising in Kangaroos for almost half my life and have lived with Kangaroos twenty four hours a day, seven days a week for all that time. I came to live in the Adelaide Hills in 1983, an area which is fortunate to still have pockets of bush where beautiful Western Greys are native. Unfortunately, habitat loss and the usual suspects which threaten Kangaroos including barbed wire fencing, increased human population vehicles and dogs, there are going to be Kangaroo casualties. I decided to convert my property into a safe haven for Wildlife and become a carer for injured and orphaned Kangaroos and Joeys.
My new life with Kangaroos began after being invited by my sister to attend an Open Day at an R.S.P.C.A. shelter. As I wandered around checking out the various animal related stalls I came across a group of Wildlife Carers sitting with Joey Kangaroos who were snugly tucked away in hanging hand made pouches. After a brief chat I was encouraged to put my name down to perhaps adopt an orphaned Joey. I guess the organisation involved in rescuing the Joeys felt that I would be a suitable candidate as I had a small property in the Adelaide Hills where Kangaroos could be cared for in relative safety. In South Australia Kangaroos are not allowed to be released into the wild if they have been hand reared.
A year after the Open Day, out of the blue, I received a phone call from the Kangaroo Network asking if I would like to take on an orphaned Joey. The Joey was a Red Kangaroo male from Port Augusta, orphaned after his Mother was shot. I hesitantly said,‘yes’ and named him Androo. Soon after acquiring Androo I received another call and was advised to take on another joey to keep Androo company, another Red Kangaroo Joey, a female this time, I named her Roobei. Roobei was orphaned after her Mother was involved in a collision with a vehicle.
Androo and Roobei came to school with me, I was employed as an Art/Design teacher at an elite boys college in Adelaide. Each morning before my trip to work I would bundle up the Joeys along with the pouches and milk formula required for the day. Joeys at a very young age require special milk replacement formula four times a day, need to be kept calm, they also require warmth and minimal handling.
Only a few carefully screened boys ever got to see the Joeys, boys whom I trusted would not stress them in any way.
When I first started the teaching position at the College I vividly remember overhearing horror animal stories the boys had with each other as they went about their work. There was a great deal of cruelty in their conservations. By the end of my eighteen years teaching there, the attitude of the boys in regards to animal welfare completely changed and each and every day I was pleased to hear something pleasant about animals or being greeted by a boy with a creature of some sort with an injury which I was expected to help in some way.
Androo and Roobei had to remain a secret until I felt it safe to reveal the secret in the Art room to the Principal.That meant hoping that the three hundred and forty Preparatory school boys I asked to keep the secret did just that. Luckily, the Principal accepted the fact that two Joeys would be attending the school for a short time and all was well. I was able to keep the Joeys safe in the dark room and allow them access to the whole Art room at recess and lunch.
A few months passed and the Joeys were coping excellently and becoming more active and interested in their surroundings. It was nearly Christmas and I was looking forward to the Christmas holidays which would be the time to prepare them for their new lifestyle. At the end of the Christmas holidays Androo and Roobei would not be returning to school, they were getting too big and too active, they would remain at home.
I could hardly wait to return home to be with them the first day back after the Christmas break. The anxiety experienced being from being away from the Joeys was too much to bear. My only option was to risk the financial security of being employed full time and apply to go part time so I could spend more time helping Wildlife. I was granted a reduction in contact time giving me the opportunity to became more involved in Wildlife issues and was offered the position of S.A. Representative for the Australian Wildlife Protection Council. I still hold that position and do all I possibly can to help the beautiful Kangaroo.
A New Addition to the Mob
A few years on, half way through one of the Art lessons a student approached me with some alarming information. He informed me that his family had a Joey in a box in the garage at home. After some intense interrogation, the horrible story was revealed. The boy’s Father and Grand Father had been shooting Kangaroos on their country property on the weekend and one of the Does shot had a Joey in her pouch. Apparently the boy pleaded to his father that they take the Joey home to keep. The petrified Joey had been kept in a cardboard box for forty eight hours without fluids. I insisted he contact his Mother and to bring the Joey into me. Permits are required to keep or hand raise Wildlife and these people had no permit and no idea what they were doing.
It was not long before a beautiful little Western Grey arrived in a cardboard box, scared and dehydrated, a female with barely any fur, just a velvet haze over her body, weighing 600 grams, I named her Frooshei. Her pale blue undeveloped pupils stared up at me, I instantly fell in love with her as I did with Androo and Roobei.They were my life and I wanted the best life I could give them. Veterinary help was almost non existant back then so it was really hard getting help in that regard. I had been reading and researching anything I could possibly get my hands on about Kangaroo diseases and medications, diet and Kangaroo husbandry. Frooshei is going to turn fifteen this year and has developed into a fiesty girl who believes it is her job to boss around the younger Joeys she shares her life with.
It was on one of my days off a terrible accident occured. I was on my way to get some milk formula when all of a sudden, as I was negotiating a sweeping curve, I saw a vehicle speeding towards me on the wrong side of the road. I remember experiencing about two seconds before the head on collision happened and the last thoughts I had were, “This is going to hurt,” and “I need to survive this for the Kangaroos.” Obviously, I survived the collision. I was, however, severely injured. Apparently, the driver and occupant of the other vehicle forgot to return to the left hand side of the road after road works, they were from somewhere overseas where driving on the right hand side was normal. My injuries were so bad that I was unable to continue working after trying to continue for a year following the accident. I had to resign from my teaching position which had been a part of my life for eighteen years. Since resigning I have completely dedicated my life to Kangaroo welfare, rescuing and caring for Kangaroos and voicing my concerns about the Kangaroo Industry and Government Kangaroo Management Plans and Culls. I have vowed that I will do all I possibly can for Kangaroos and this passion grows daily.
I believe my love for Kangaroos is the sole reason I have pushed through the hell of diagnosed depression due to chronic pain. I now spend every single moment with what I love, a special love only a few people ever experience.... Kangaroo love.
Western Grey Kangaroo
I live in an area which is home to the Western Grey kangaroo. Even though they are not threatened by the Kangaroo Industry the Kangaroos do experience their fair share of challenges in their strive to survive. I have been observing, documenting and photographing a Mob of Kangaroos who live close to my property for approximately 25 years, during which time I have been fortunate to observe some very intimate, numerous funny, and many beautiful moments.The Mob has had to adjust to an influx of humans due to the increased popularity of the ‘Tree Change’. This particular Mob of Kangaroos have not been subjected to ‘Culls’, they have been left to manage themselves and have proven to be expert at it. In monitoring the Kangaroos I have not needed to utilise collars fitted with transmitter devices or employ a film crew, just love and a passion for the Kangaroo was required. The Mob has never exceeded fifteen in number and the area they roam is roughly four square kilometres.
The alpha male, named ‘Hercules’ is transient and prefers to live a solitary existance except when females are in season. Hercules will then visit the females (Does) and stay around them whilst they remain in season to keep other males (Bucks) from mating them. Hercules will not always choose to mate each female, he decides whether or not to do so. The Doe will not usually allow herself to be impregnated by other Bucks so it can be a frantic time with Does racing all over the place in their attempts to escape unrelenting Bucks. This is where Mob dynamics are destroyed by the likes of the Kangaroo Industry and Government controlled Culls. The shooters who shoot for the Kangaroo Industry aim to kill the large Bucks as they get paid per kilogram for the carcass. Also, companies like Adidas insist on the large skins for their ‘Predator’ Football boots. In doing this, the Mob is no longer protected as the Alpha male is taken and the Does are chased down by the Juvenile Bucks resulting in a weakening the gene pool .
Due to predation, one out of three Joeys will not survive past twelve months of age and only one on average will grow to adulthood. Vehicle collisions, dog attacks, fences, human intervention and who knows what horror is inflicted on them when they venture onto private property, all contribute to their demise at a young age or any age in all seriousness. Living life as a wildlfe carer combined with being fortunate to live amongst wild Kangaroos is a gift. I have been priviledged to have experienced an incredible insight into Kangaroo behaviour and dynamics of the Mob and have been welcomed into their world.
Tough Boy Bailei
Words cannot express what I would like to do to the person who invented Barbed Wire. The injuries and deaths that happen to Wildlife because of the wretched stuff is horrific! I can clearly remember being called out to a property where a Joey, I named ‘Bailei’, was seen caught in a fence with it’s hind legs twisted in the Barbed Wire. As I approached the the property I dreaded what I would be confronted with. The person who contacted me was waiting and took me over to where the Joey was hanging. A possible scenario could be, the Mob the Joey belonged to was frightened by a vehicle or a dog. In the Bailei’s endeavour to keep up with his Mob he was unable to clear the fence and his legs got trapped between the two top strands of the Barbed Wire. Bailei must have been hanging and struggling for quite some time as the blood was dry and the damaged area was not fresh, the Joey had nearly ring barked both his ankles. All the fur and flesh had been ripped off in his panic to free himself from the fence, the Tendon and bone on one ankle was exposed. I covered his head and carefully cut him from the wire. Bailei was extremely brave and as soon as he was free he snuggled into my arms and fell asleep. He trusted that I was there to help him and never at any stage of caring for him did Bailei show fear. It took several months and a great deal of medication and bandage dressings to repair the extreme damage, but thankfully, Bailei made a full recovery, albeit with a very unusual pair of legs.
In my pursuit to help Kangaroos in my area I have met some people who enjoy the Kangaroos and others who make it their job to make life as difficult as possible for them. I would spend a great deal of time checking fences, patrolling roads near Kangaroo habitat for injured kangaroos and also, just keeping an eye on known kangaroo haters. This is a very dangerous part of my life. I have been abused, blamed, threatened, had my car damaged by a violent individual who was threatening a Kangaroo and countless other frightening incidents, simply because I watch out for Wildlife.
Frank, was an elderly gentleman who often noticed me watching the Kangaroos near his property and would often come out to have a chat when I drove past his house. I got to know Frank quite well, we were both concerned about the dwindling Kangaroo numbers in the area. On this occasion there appeared to be a blind kangaroo on a nearby property. I will never forget the conversation we had on that hot November night as we stood mesmerised watching a Mother and Joey interacting together, they clearly loved each other.
There was silence for a considerable length of time and then Frank asked if he could tell me about an incident he had never told anyone about before. For some reason he felt compelled to tell me about what had occurred one night when he was about thirty years old. Frank was seventy seven years of age. He went on to tell me how he used to go out Rabbit shooting with his mate when on this particular night his mate decided that they would also shoot a couple of Kangaroos for dog meat. Frank was asked to have a shot at a Kangaroo in the distance and he obliged. He took aim, pulled the trigger and realised it was not a clean shot. Frank wandered over to the Kangaroo who was writhing in pain and trying in vain to push her Joey out of her pouch. Frank went on to say that he actually heard the Kangaroo scream to her Joey ‘get away, go,the man is going to kill us!’. Frank honestly believed that he heard the Kangaroo scream those words to her Joey. Frank, with tears in his eyes, continued with the horrible detail and said that he had to shoot both, Mother and joey. He then told me he was so disgusted by what he did on that sickening night that he went straight home and destroyed his gun and never killed anything again and is now haunted each minute of his life.
It was difficult to say anything to Frank when he had finished talking, I am not the forgiving type when it comes to animal cruelty, abuse, neglect, whatever. Frank never came out to talk with me again, so I did not have to deal with the emotions that were challenging my conscience.
The Old Blind Girl
When travelling around I observe and document where and how many Kangaroos are in specific areas. I am not employed by the Government , not a Council Ranger or an R.S.P.CA. Inspector but do all I can on a voluntary basis. This lack of authority has it’s difficulties however, as I am not allowed onto properties to check Kangaroos I may be concerned about. I had been keeping an eye out for several months for an old , what seemed to be, blind, female Kangaroo. The Kangaroo appeared to be coping and was keeping up with her Mob so I felt it was best to monitor her and move her if she seemed to deteriorate at any stage. I tracked her daily and all seemed to be going well for the girl. Then one day, she had disappeared from the Mob. I searched for hours on end and had difficulty in doing so as some property owners would not let me look for her on their land. I would wake up at five am each morning and search for her and return each night at about six pm. till dark. A week later I found her, she was laying exhausted upturned with her legs in the air in a ditch. She was on a property that belonged to a Kangaroo hater, a man who had previously abused me when I stopped to remove a Kangaroo off the road, a man I believe responsible for shooting Kangaroos in the area. I needed his permission to go on his property to retrieve her but feared he would say no. I rang the R.S.P.C.A. but they were unable to come out as it was late at night and the Council Ranger would shoot her for sure. I decided to get her out myself.
I went home and got all the equipment required to do the rescue and prepared my car so I could transport her safely. I suspected she had been chased by his dogs so made sure I had the appropriate Antibiotics on hand and Dexamethasone for shock. I returned and placed blankets on her and waited in the car till I felt it was safe to make the move. I approached quietly and she did not move at all, I thought she had died. Then I noticed her beautiful face looking up at me and I could tell she was relieved that someone was there to help. Kangaroos know when they are being helped, they just know. The poor girl was in the middle of a boggy paddock with drainage pipes all over, so it was extremely difficult carrying a fully grown Kangaroo on my own in the dark. I managed to carry her through to the fence where my car was parked and manoevered her through the gate to my car door. I only had a Sedan back then so had to place her on the floor in the front of the passenger seat but being next to me I would be able to place my hand on her and speak softly if she got stressed by the unusual noises during the trip.
I carefully lifted her into the car and wrapped her securely then reached into my pocket to get my car keys.... they weren’t there! I race around to the driver’s side door in the hope that I had left them in the ignition, No !!! I had dropped them in the paddock.!!!I had a rough idea where I had picked her up and retraced my steps in complete darkness and... unbelievably, I stumbled across them. I could not believe luck was with me for a change. I ran back to the car and drove home with an exhausted blind Kangaroo next to me. I carried her into the Laundry and she fell straight to sleep, beautiful girl. I woke next morning with her in my arms and her beautiful head tucked into my body. I checked out her injuries and as suspected, she had been attacked by a dog or dogs, presenting injuries consistent with dog attack. She had bite marks and punctures all over her buttocks, legs and neck. I cleaned and dressed her wounds, gave her Antibiotics and Dexamethasone. Sadly, even with Veterinary help, the blind girl died in her sleep a few days later.
Tobei was an absolute treasure, a hero in his own right and I believe, along with Lucei, another rescued Joey, saved my life. Tobei was adopted by Lucei who was also hand raised after her Mother was run completely over by a truck. Lucei loved Tobei and they went everywhere together, grazed together, slept next to each other. It was a windy night and after setting up the outdoor heating arrangement I had for the Kangaroos who chose to sleep on the Verandah, and sorting out the food stations, I retired to bed. The heating consisted of galvanised domes which were suspended above the areas where it was dry and comfortable if the Kangaroos felt cold. Near by, there were a couple of containers where Meadow Hay was placed. On this extremely windy night a tragic event occurred and if not for Tobei’s famous Trumpet call he always used to get my attention I would have possibly lost my life and my home.
At about 2am I was woken by the repetitive trumpet sound of Tobei, extremely loud and clearly in a state of panic. I stumbled out of bed to see what was going on and to my amazement I saw flames about to catch the eves of the house alight. One of the heaters had blown into the meadow Hay container which in turn caught the cupboard next to the house alight. Tobei and Lucei were standing there side by side, staring at the flames which had nearly taken complete hold. I managed to get the hose to the fire and extinguish the fire. I firmly believe they both knew what they needed to do and did so to save my life.
Beautiful Tobei tragically died two years later on my Birthday from a snake bite. I will never forget the bond we had with each other for nearly four years, such a beautiful Kangaroo, his memory etched in my heart forever. Lucei had tears in her eyes the day Tobei left us and for months after... Kangaroos do cry, we never got over his loss.
Kangei was a wild Western Grey Kangaroo who often enjoyed visiting my Kangaroos, a dominant male who belonged to the Mob that resides in Council land behind my property. Kangei was about three years of age when he first came to visit, a very trusting and placid Kangaroo. Our bond was sealed the day I found him caught in a neighbour's fence. Kangei allowed me to sedate him and cut him free from the fence. We had only known each other for about a year when the incident happened but he allowed me to inject him on two occasions with long acting Antibiotics and administer Vitamin E daily for Myopathy. Beautiful Kangei would have been about four years old and weighed approximately eighty Kilograms. Realising I was helping him he would like my face and gently stroke my hand with his large soft paw, I was able to dress the wound in his hind leg and thankfully Kangei made a complete recovery. Kangei continued to visit us until March 24th 2010.
Kangei died after being hit by a car after a dog chased him onto the main road as he was navigating through bushland in a reserve where dogs are legally supposed to be on a lead at all times. The progeny of Kangei live on with other Joeys that were born after his death. I am aware of two Joeys that are definitely Kangei’s, how precious that I can still be close to him in some way. Kangei is now with his best friend,Tobei.
The dynamics of a Mob are extremely interesting to me and I believe many people underestimate the amazing qualities the Kangaroo possesses. On one occasion when I was on a Photography expedition in the bush I spotted the mob in a paddock a small distance from where they usually hung out. I stopped and watched as they were on the move and needed to negotiate a couple of Barbed Wire fences on their return to their day time resting spot. I had noticed the youngest Buck had safely crossed the dirt road along with two of the Does and one of the at foot Joeys.
Bradei, the dominant Buck at the time stayed behind to ensure all Kangaroos crossed safely. With him was the other at foot joey who decided it was time to play and rough up Bradei and not follow his Mum. Bradei kept trying to show his Joey where to get under the fence by gently pushing the Joey’s head down to the section where there was a large enough space to get under. The Joey thought Bradei was playing and I had such a laugh watching the antics of the Joey and the frustration Bradei was experiencing. Finally, with a little bit more force by Bradei and a Mother calling her boy, the Joey realised it was time to squeeze under. It was not until the Joey was safely out that Bradei felt ready to to jump the fence and join the Mob. I have seen on many occasions actions which indicate close bonds, love and also grieving of deceased members of a Mob. The bond between a mother and a joey is a special one. The Joey stays with the Mother for at least eighteen months, the female Joey many months longer and will usually remain with or close to the Mob in her adult life.
I have also observed the actions of a Mother to protect her Joey in times when threats are near. Always on the alert, the mother will communicate to her Joey to go to a predetermined spot and hide if she senses a threat. The Mother will then stand completely upright, perfectly still and watch and listen, ears flicking frantically in all directions like a radar. If she feels it necessary she will leave the scene to take the threat away from her Joey. The Joey instinctively realises it must not follow, it understands it must remain still and completely quiet and wait for its Mother to return when she feels it is safe to do so. I have observed a Joey wait more than three hours for her Mother to return. The love and excitement shown when they reunite is so precious, wow, I love them.
I have also experienced the love the Kangaroos in my care have for me. I have never had a sick day whilst being a Wildlife carer. Fact is, I can’t. Too much Kangaroo work to be done. When I experience unrelenting pain I sometimes have to lay down for a while, but I am never alone. The Kangaroos sense when I am unwell and will always join me either on my bed or on the floor next to the bed. Sometimes I am lucky to get any of the bed but feel so happy when they are with me. They are my healers.
The Kangaroos have a choice to do as they wish, they can come inside or they may choose to graze and lay around outside. I love it when I am their choice.
As mentioned at the beginning of my story, my journey spans from Gooby to Kobei. Kobei came into my life on August 31st 2010 at the age of five months. He was orphaned after his Mother lost him from her pouch when being chased by a dog on someone’s property. The owners of the property left the little Joey, whom I named ‘Kobei’, after Kangei and Tobei, near a bush all night in 3 degrees C. amongst predators such as Foxes, in case the Mother returned for him.
Unbelievably, Kobei survived the night but his Mother did not return. How such a small Joey could survive those conditions astounds me till this day. Kobei apparently stayed in the same place all night. He did not move a centimeter. They picked him up and I was contacted and asked what they should do with him. Kobei became part of my Mob and has been with my other Kangaroos ever since. Kangaroos are very accepting of new arrivals and I gradually introduced him into my Mob. He has grown up to be a vibrant and content Kangaroo who loves Lucei and his other Mob friends that live here.
I would much prefer that the Kangaroos who have had a second chance of life with me never had to experience losing their Mother but I suppose they are the luckier ones in a Country that insists on slaughtering millions of Kangaroos and Joeys each year. Kangaroos are blamed for just about everything and have been betrayed since white man set foot on their land. It’s little wonder that when they are observed they are always on the lookout for Human threat, introduced predators along with the ongoing loss of habitat due to degradation of land and urban sprawl. Where I live I have noticed the number of Kangaroos drop 75% in twenty years and there is no Kangaroo Industry here to blame, only human intervention, greed and a blatant disregard for Wildlife. I have seen and still see people buy properties knowing it is home to Wildlife and feel it is their right to apply for destruction permits to get rid of the animals.
Sadly, I don’t think there will be many Kangaroos in my area in the near future and only then will the Kangaroo haters be happy. Life as a Wildlife carer has given me a rare insight into the world of the beautiful Kangaroo. I have witnessed first hand the threats they continually face and will continue to face in a world so entrenched with a greed mentality. As urban sprawl spreads like an out of control Cancer, the demise of the Kangaroo, I believe, is imminent. They won’t make a noise, they won’t fight back, the Kangaroo will just disappear. History will, unfortunately, repeat itself. Australia is an expert at achieving Wildlife extinctions.
My Wildlife journey, so far, has been like a Roller Coaster, I have been pushed to say and do things I never thought I would or could. I will continue to support Kangaroos for as long as I live.... they are my life long passion.
My biggest wish is for the Kangaroo to be appreciated and respected before it is too late, so that the amazing people who relentlessly endeavor to give a voice to these precious, sentient beings can continue to admire, observe, photograph, love and appreciate their wonder.
As we understand it, individual States are free to “manage” their own (protected) wildlife. However, the "management" of wildlife ends up evolving into a business of exponential commercial proportions, with momentum to keep supplying the meat and skins for domestic use and international export markets. (Photographs by Brett Clifton)
(Photographs by Brett Clifton)
‘Management’ becomes mandatory to keep up demands, and we end up with a commercial kangaroo meat trade in Victoria, until now, stating there are NOT enough kangaroos in Victoria to sustain a commercial kangaroo killing industry in the State.
Authority to Control Wildlife permits granted willy-nilly by dysfunctional state departments
Victoria's deficient and seriously flawed system of ATCW (Authority to Control Wildlife) permits must be addressed and scrutinised. It's far too easy for landholders to gain ATCW permits, without getting advice on non-lethal alternatives. With so much of Victoria's land in private hands, the vicissitudes of fires, droughts, floods, on top of all the human impacts, our wildlife must be protected properly and with integrity. We already have the highest mammal extinction rate of the modern world. There should be wildlife corridors linked to national and state parks, then farmers blocking their transits would not be able to label them a "pest" - and apply for permits to "control" (kill) native animals. Planning has devolved into creating real estate opportunities rather than real planning for biodiversity and our environment. Kangaroos breed very quickly? Only about 25% of joeys survive in the wild. Kangaroos are endemic to Australia, and are native animals. Their numbers increase when there is good feed, and naturally decline in the poor times. They live in perfect harmony with the environment, and 16 million years of experience puts them well ahead of us modern humans.
State crocodile tears for starving kangaroos don't fool wildlife carers
The false empathy with the kangaroos that will "starve" and therefore must be killed is disturbing and hypocritical. The hideous massacre of kangaroos in Canberra, ACT, is shameful, Healthy kangaroos were slaughtered and incredibly became scapegoats for conservation concerns. Then the graziers blame Russia, a country that sensibly ended the import of kangaroo meat for hygiene and health concern. Livestock are eating the grass, and causing havoc is another excuse for “management”. It's the livestock industries that are responsible for high extinction rates in Australia. They denude the country of grass, eating much more than kangaroos and doing untold damage, with their cloven hooves. Human overpopulation in the Middle East and South East Asia will drive demands for live exports, further exacerbating the problem. Australia has one of the worst mammal extinction rates in the world, with 22 mammals becoming extinct over the past 200 years.
THINKK Research group at Sydney University of Technology
A report by THINKK, a research group at the University of Technology, Sydney, proved that kangaroos rarely compete with sheep and cattle for pasture?—?calling into question the legality of culling animals on the grounds that they are competing for food. The contrary it true – livestock compete with kangaroos for food, and their rapacious feeding habits and consumption pattern are threatening kangaroo survival! Kangaroos have their first young at around 3 years; they can raise one joey per year; joeys are dependent for 18 months; joeys have high rates of mortality. How can graziers and others suggest that populations can “explode”? How can “researchers” seriously provide graphs which double or triple populations, and claim that their monitoring in any sense “tracks” populations? If there are 100 kangaroos one year, and a population has a M:F ratio of 1:1, of the 50 or so does that could conceivably conceive, only 25% or so of these are likely to successfully raise their young to independence, and there may be 110 or 115 the next year, period.
Getting things in proportion
While kangaroos, other native species, and the natural living environment generally, are often considered to be in conflict with agriculture, does this label them all as “pests”? Those native species which persist in developed landscapes are the displaced remnants and tatters of native fauna trying to subsist within a landscape which has been fundamentally transformed by the human pursuit of production objectives. The power of the States must be quelled and the mask of “managing” kangaroo numbers must not be driving the commercial kangaroo killing industry, which shames Australia, the nation of the highest mammal extinctions in the world. We strenuously object to the suggestion that the industry expand to China and Russia. Aboriginal people respectfully killed one kangaroo at a time for sustenance and they used every bit of their totem kangaroo they did not kill on an industrial scale as happens today! The acquisition of a taste for kangaroo meat, by over a billion people in China and Russia , will ensure another species suffers and eventually becomes extinct.
 Source of photographs
The source of the photographs was Brett Clifton and the subject was a kangaroo called Jelly and it was called, "January 2013: Jelly and the art of scratching." You can view the series of three of this lively kangaroo at Brett Clifton's famous "A Kanga a Day" pages, here at brettclifton.com/wordpress/?p=1747
Original Source of article:
This article is based on a letter sent to the Hon Tony Burke, Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (ALP), with a copy to the Hon Greg Hunt, (Shadow Minister for Climate Action, Environment and Heritage, and Federal Member for Flinders, Victoria), on February 8, 2013 by Maryland Wilson, President of the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
One of the finalists in the 2012 Voiceless Writing prize from Professor Steve Garlick is a poignant true story expressing intimate moments between humans and our native kangaroo. The story gives extraordinary insights that enrich our understanding of animals who are too often ignored and give us cause for hope when treated with respect and compassion. While the story is not included in the final Voiceless Anthology we think it is of significant merit to include it here in its entirety. You can read Voiceless' top ten stories at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009CM65XI/ref=cm_sw_su_dp ...... it's only $1.81. Let us know what YOU think.
The Lucky Ones
(Of all the holes in the human heart, perhaps none is bigger than the space once occupied by our connections to wild things and the rhythms of nature…our self-imposed exile from our original network of natural relationships is civilisation’s most disorienting misstep.
Song for the Blue Ocean and Voyage of the Turtle
The last rays of sun filter across the low grey-green hills and through the tops of the long yellow grass as Rosemary and I reach our destination deep into a large private wildlife sanctuary. There are thousands of acres here. It is not an easy place to get to, but that is one of the attractions for the wildlife that have made this place their home away from destructive humans and their motor vehicles, dogs and guns.
This is the place where for many years we have translocated and released into the wild hundreds of kangaroos that we have helped recover from serious injury and illness or the loss of their mother. We come to this place to monitor the progress of these gentle, affectionate and nurturing creatures. They are strong and resilient in their own sometimes harsh environment, but they are fragile and vulnerable in the human world. These animals have many of the qualities we might wish humans would have so as to ensure that all creatures can co-exist in a better world. Like responsible parents we want to make sure that they are adjusting from the pampered life of our wildlife recovery centre to their new home in the wild, where they need to fend for themselves.
This is also the place to which we come from time to time to renew ourselves, to spend time with the kangaroo friends we have grown to admire over the months and years they have been recovering in our care. We have treated, nursed and encouraged them, marvelled at their determination, watched their growing confidence, and celebrated their success. The response from these animals is our reward for the long hours of attention we have given them, the disappointment when things do not work out, the large personal expense, and the negativity and disregard of a human society which seems never to have the time or the interest to understand the remarkable qualities and world of these iconic creatures. These visits lift our spirits and give us impetus to keep going with the hundreds of severely injured and sick kangaroos that come to us for help every year. The world of these animals plays on our mind in contradistinction to a dissatisfying and insensitive human society into which we feel shoehorned and institutionally controlled.
Rosemary calls out a number of times in a loud voice, “hey bubbie, dubbies”. After just a few minutes, away into the distance little heads can be seen popping up above the long grass and are silhouetted against the fading light. “Hey bubbie dubbies, hey bubbie dubbies”, Rosemary calls out again. For the kangaroo the words themselves are not important, it’s the sound of the voice that makes the difference for them. The hearing of these animals is amazingly acute and their navigation skills are extraordinary.
Hearing is the main sense of the kangaroo. Their long ears rotate 360 degrees independently of each other like antennae to pick up and decode every sound with extraordinary accuracy. Their very life depends on their judgement and reactions based on this sense. It is only when they get close that their sense of smell takes on added importance. We must be at least two kilometres away. Despite these wild animals being very wary of humans, they quickly and confidently recognise Rosemary’s voice and soon make their way towards us, stopping now and then to call out in their distinctive chatter-cough as if to say, “I hear you, I’ll be there shortly, so don’t leave yet”.
By now a dark yellow full moon is beginning to emerge above the horizon and a gentle breeze from the east brings a crispness that reminds us that autumn is on the way. Within thirty minutes a mob of thirty one kangaroos has bounded and skipped its way to our special meeting place. Rosemary recognises and welcomes each and every one by name, even though some have been released to the wild for more than four years and their physique has changed. Each has a distinctive manner and personality that is recognisable to the trained eye if you take a close interest in them. The wise words of the fox in de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince seem appropriate:
“It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye” (de Saint-Exupery 1991: 68).
Some of our visitors want to rub noses as they did when in our care, a few want to embrace with firm hugs, and some just want to lie at our feet and have their necks scratched. Some of the females we raised now have infants of their own. But their mothers have taught their little ones well to be wary of humans; they are instructed to wait some 20 or 30 metres away while mum has her special time with those who cared and took an interest in her when she was injured or orphaned and needed help. These thirty one visiting kangaroos are just a small fraction of the hundreds of severely injured kangaroos we have rehabilitated, translocated and released to the wild over the past twelve years. We have, with the assistance of our veterinarian, mended their bones and their wounds and hopefully through the care we have given even mended their hearts. Sometimes when these kangaroos visit us in the wild they are accompanied by other wild kangaroos – their new mob. These other wild kangaroos stand at what they consider a safe distance and watch the odd behaviour of their animal friends as they closely interact with a genus of which they would normally be afraid.
These animals have excellent memories for what is important. They would not come to any other person. But they have come to visit us because they remember the kindness and care they received when they needed it most. We gave them a second chance.
On such a night there is something ethereal about being in intimate company with a mob of large wild animals. It is a privilege that cannot be bought with money and it costs little more than a large dose of kindness and compassion. It is hard to reconcile that anyone could be cruel to such heart-warming and graceful creatures… but they are. Indeed, the gentle kangaroo is the victim of the largest land-based wildlife slaughter by humans on the planet, employing some of the most brutal means imaginable. This is an unenviable record for a country to have and we, in the presence of these same unique animals, are tormented that we are part of this human world.
Rosemary rattles off the names of our visitors. First to arrive is Blanket and her infant BB. We named Blanket because like many small children she had a security blanket to comfort her when in our care. Some small joeys suck their grooming claw (just like a thumb), some suck their toes, some their tails and some suck their bags for security. Next to arrive is the ever-friendly Skippy who had a severe fracture of the pelvis when he came to our recovery centre, but with lots of rest and some physiotherapy made a full recovery. Skippy acts as a big brother to many of the other released joeys. Even now long after his release he arrives at the release site from what seems like nowhere when we translocate a new group of joeys. He then visits often to communicate with the new arrivals and they find great comfort in his presence.
At the last translocation of an initial seven joeys to the release enclosure, Rosemary slept under the stars to keep the joeys company. Jordan, a very sensitive joey, spent several hours lying next to Rosemary before she gained enough confidence to explore the new environment with her friends. All the while Skippy was just nearby munching on grass, keeping Rosemary company and acting as her minder. Rosemary says she always feels safe and never feels lonely when the kangaroos are with her, even in this isolated location.
Tish follows soon after Skippy. She came to us with severe malnutrition and the veterinarian did not think she would recover, but she has confounded everyone with her success. She still sucks her toe when she feels safe and relaxed. Maddie, her joey Macca, and Macca’s friends Betty, Joe and Bawley are the next to arrive. Maddie and Macca were in care with us together and we had the privilege of seeing Macca develop from a small frightened at-heel joey. Maddie had to have her toe amputated following a dog attack, while little Macca had to have two teeth removed due to an infection caused by a grass seed. What an extraordinary mother Maddie was. At our recovery centre she nurtured Betty, Joe and Bawley as well as her own Macca.
Bawley was brought to us with severe myopathy and after some intense treatment recovered well. Joe recovered from wire fence entanglement injuries and became a devoted friend to little Betty who was a miracle joey. She came to us as a small joey after having to leave her mother’s pouch early because her mother was injured. Betty was suffering from malnourishment, hypothermia, aspiration pneumonia, myopathy, fox attack wounds to the head and face and a laceration to the foot from a dog attack. Betty is always calm even in adversity and other gentle joeys like Joe are drawn to her. Joe would often be seen standing next to Betty sucking her ear.
Phoebe arrives with her close friend Chloe and they both have small joeys in their pouches. They were raised together and are inseparable and while Phoebe is quiet and confident, Chloe is shy and nervous. Phoebe had a fractured tail, fractured tibia and a traumatic cataract in one eye and Chloe was orphaned. Others to follow include Tara, who was orphaned; Bonnie who recovered from pneumonia and hypothermia; Malcolm who had fence wire entanglement injuries; and Donnie who had recovered from having barbed fencing wire embedded in the skin of his abdomen. Malcolm was always one of Rosemary’s favourites, a gentle and affectionate joey who loved chasing and playing with the smaller joeys.
Every one of these kangaroos has a harrowing story to tell about what had befallen them before they arrived at our recovery centre. There is no ambulance service or hospital for these creatures. We have been able to construct a narrative for each of them and it only increases our respect for these stoic creatures and our disdain for human disregard. For these once injured animals a picture does not account for the words that can be said and the emotion that can be felt about their ordeal. Every animal is an individual with its own life story and each has a different personality. Many humans would crumble if they had to endure what these kangaroos have been through.
The only way you will deeply know kangaroos is if you understand their everyday emotions – happiness, shyness, distress, fear, anger, nurturing, nervousness, inquisitiveness, and playfulness. You can only identify these emotions if you have a relational ethic of care of the ‘being-for’ kind with them over a long period. ‘Being-for’ relationships are about unconditional giving, with no expectation of reciprocity. The insights gained through such relationships with a kangaroo enable non-verbal communication between wild animal and human. Once you master communication with a wild animal so many things become clear. To believe you know a kangaroo without this personal insight is fraudulent. There is something profoundly disturbing about scientists and other humans claiming to know wildlife only through their disingenuous tinkering and experimentation, through the lens of a camera, or through media coverage designed more for entertainment than enlightenment.
But we have come to this meeting with our special friends for one other reason. We have come to apologise for being human and to gain some solace in their company from a self-interested and cruel human world. Like an out-of-control grand panjandrum, this human world shows no bounds to its ingenuity in finding even more grotesque ways, based on even more flaccid argument, to make a misery of the lives of innocent non-human animals of all kinds and in all situations – farm, wild, companion, introduced, and used for entertainment. The cruelty and disregard of humans toward animals torments us and every day of our lives we are confronted by the reality of it everywhere we turn. In return for our support for these animals we in turn also receive abuse from members of the human world.
We empathise with Coetzee’s Elizabeth Costello (‘The Lives of Animals’, 2001). Sometimes giving up on human society and adopting the life of a recluse vegan seems attractive. At other times there is a determination to confront the human disregard toward animals head on, with the hope that a few attitudes might change for the better. Unable to become reclusive in a world that constantly nags at you, wants you and then disregards you, periods of depression result – but this is the lot of those at the coalface of animal cruelty, who fight for justice for creatures whose voice is unheard.
At the butt-end of our torment are neoliberal politicians exhibiting Faustian principles; those pillaging farmers who have cleared and poisoned the soil and treated the animals in their care and other animals they come across with diabolical disregard; unethical scientists who tinker with and experiment on these animals for their own ends; and the self-interested who simply do not want to know about animal misery. These people prefer to have a life that is desensitised to the plight of others, rather than be embarrassed by what they eat and wear. These people turn away from the inconvenience of assisting an animal quietly whimpering in distress. They all earn our derision.
The air has turned noticeably chilly as we sit amongst the kangaroos. It is this chill and the shiver it creates that reminds us that at this same time, less than one hour away, an episode in extreme brutality is being played out against the same gentle animals by insensitive humans with SUVs, blinding spotlights and high-powered guns, contracted by the very people meant to be protecting our country. You can be certain that the government which has employed these contractors has not sought any due diligence, probity or professional indemnity evidence and it is highly unlikely there was any competitive tendering, as the rest of us might expect if the normal rules of transparency and accountability apply in contracting for government services in a free, fair and democratic society.
Our representations and legal challenges in opposing this act of gross indecency against a gentle and inoffensive resident of this land for 16 million years are met with nothing but neo-con politics and later proven false statements. It seems impossible to escape those politicians and their insensitive brand of politics. Their attitude is always bad for animals. Seven thousand innocent, free-living individuals are massacred based on the lies of politicians, the actions of a few bureaucrats more concerned about their next promotion than animal suffering, and a single ‘local’ scientist whose simplistic work can but give the field of ecology a bad reputation. None will know these animals as we do on this night in their company and few, if any, are interested in finding out. Killing, except to end pain and suffering, is the act of the unconnected human. Such a scene is like the 1995 Srebrenica massacres – thinking and feeling beings herded, cornered and slaughtered. We feel their terror before they feel the bullets that extinguish their innocent lives.
Having sat through every day of the Tribunal hearing of the Majura kangaroo killing and read the transcript of the decision, one can only be shocked at the low level of concern for animal life and the poor evidence the Court was prepared to accept in allowing the governments involved to carry out their programme of slaughter. Two questionable actions underpinned their decision.
The first was that photographs were accepted as the cornerstone of evidence of apparent kangaroo overgrazing – the prime reason given for the need to slaughter them. No evidence of causality was ever provided to this Tribunal and nor was it asked for - only photographic evidence of association. They said in paragraph 111 of the transcript of the hearing: "We accept that the photos are not representative of the MTA [military training area] as a whole, but they do demonstrate the existence of substantial damage caused by kangaroos to significant areas of the MTA." To rely on a photo without other relevant and comprehensive data and analysis is bad science. As scientists we know photos can never be a substitute for the full scientific analysis that demonstrates causality. This is tantamount to saying that because 99 per cent of people who develop bowel cancer drink coffee, then coffee must cause bowel cancer! Based on good science, the Tribunal’s statement connecting photographs with causality is just plain wrong.
The second action of the Tribunal was accepting the evidence of a scientist with no peer-reviewed research record, simply because he was ‘local’, whilst ignoring the contrary evidence of ‘outside’ scientists with internationally recognised knowledge and experience in kangaroo ecology. Statements that purport to be science that are not peer scrutinised must remain only opinion.
It is hard to imagine the sheer terror and panic the Majura kangaroos experienced this night; infants losing their mothers and being trampled in the pandemonium, others suffering great pain from inaccurate shots from the so-called ‘expert marksmen’, some suffering fractures and other injuries in the chaos, conscious pouch-bound infant joeys clubbed to death, beheaded or buried alive with their dead mothers, and vulnerable at-heel offspring left to be predated on.
Where was the politician who gave the orders to carry out the Majura murder this night? My vision is of him sitting down to a dinner of beef, lamb, chicken, or some other dead farm animal who had been through the same misery. Maybe he is having some ‘quality’ time with his family, as the children of other mammals are subjected to agony and terror before losing their lives. There is no quiet dinner for them on this night. And we, just one hour away, are in the company of the same creatures he is having murdered – not as intruders into a much gentler world, but as guests with lost souls seeking some meaning to being human from those who are not. There is little to find emotionally satisfying in this human world when exposed to the world of non-human animals.
How odd it is that some humans are slaughtering gentle kangaroos inhumanely with apparent complete indifference, while we humans not far away seek some guidance in life from the same creatures. How can an animal so frightened and distrustful of humans be so willing to share its world with us? How can two worlds be so different? We are so tormented by the illogicality of being a human animal in a world that is so mean spirited and brutal, while being temporarily accepted into a world of another animal species that is the target of human brutality, but in which the values of sharing, gentleness, and nurturing are commonplace. It leaves us with no answer.
Above the entrance to Australia’s Parliament House sits the nation’s coat of arms, the distinctly Australian kangaroo and emu. Every day politicians walk beneath this coat of arms, no doubt full of self-importance and conceit in the belief that they are making lofty decisions of meaning and significance for the nation and all its inhabitants. Most of these politicians would not take a second glance at this coat of arms, let alone stop to muse as to why these animals are an important symbol of what ought to be a moral platform upon which to build a nation. In fact, many of these same politicians have been directly complicit in the brutality toward these animals - a brutality that reflects post-colonial attitudes of taking what you can from the land while it is still available to take and a nasty interpretation of neoliberal economics that puts ‘the self’ and not ‘the other’ at the centre of importance.
This self-centred interpretation of a free market economy was not the one intended by Adam Smith. For Smith, the ‘invisible hand’ would only distribute the benefits of private enterprise more widely throughout society if there were some moral basis to it predicated on fairness. He reckoned humans had a ‘natural sympathy’ in seeing others benefit from their labour. This is not the neoliberal ‘free market’ economics we see everywhere around us today. Instead there is a culture of not wanting others to benefit from the labour of more capable individuals. The ‘natural sympathy’ of humans spoken about by Adam Smith is today regarded as a ‘free-rider’ effect, where the free-riders are despised. Unfortunately, we have allowed society to adopt the uncaring position: There is no compassion where there is a lack of capability. What chance do non-human animals have when vulnerable humans in our society are thought of in this way? Animal capability is not given any thought in this dialectic.
The kangaroo’s place on the Australian coat of arms and as a symbol in many other fields of endeavour is not only because it is uniquely Australian, but because it portrays a sense of survival in the sixteen million years it has lived in this fragile land, and because it reflects speed, strength and gracefulness. For those of us who know these animals well it also reflects deeper qualities than the simple biophysical. For us the kangaroo demonstrates a gentle and nurturing demeanour toward others and towards the land they have resided in for so long. These are characteristics that are important in creating a sustainable planet for all.
One year earlier, these same politicians were complicit in another brutal programme of kangaroo killing. In what has become known as the Belconnen Mother’s Day massacre, 514 free-living kangaroos were slaughtered to make way for yet another uninspiring ‘project-built’ housing estate. The significant feature of this gruesome event was that it was carried out within sight of the coat of arms and flag of Australia’s national Parliament House. Non-lethal alternatives were made available to the politicians, but their self-interest would not allow them to comprehend such ethical approaches that might help another species apparently less capable then them. Watching this traumatic event, not as some cruelty-loving voyeur but as someone with intense sadness and anger, it is hard to reconcile that we, in the company of such gentle, honest and nurturing creatures this night, are of the same species as the individuals employed to carry out these horrendous deeds and an overzealous police force whose numbers exceeded the quiet protestors on those fateful days. So deep is the cronyism between the government and the police that quiet and peaceful protestors face the maximum charge when arrested. Fortunately the court system sees the nonsense, lists no charges and imposes no fines, despite government lawyers seeking to have the charges increased with maximum fine.
My thoughts go to other events of extreme animal cruelty against the kangaroo initiated by governments across this country that deepen our torment toward those who unfeelingly contribute to a burgeoning world of animal cruelty. There is something morally very wrong when humans who have not sought to better themselves, or contribute to a better nation, are supported by governments in brutally killing thousands of kangaroos for a most unethical, unsustainable and uneconomic industry that makes private gain for a few from the misery of the native animals who belong to all of us. It is hard for caring people to imagine that their elected governments would stoop to such base practices, always in the name of money and supposed jobs, not for once realising that an immoral society provides no basis for a strong economy.
“Follow the money” was the famous one-liner used by the Deep Throat reporters on the trail of those behind the Watergate break-in as portrayed in the movie All the President’s Men. What is happening to animals in this country at the hands of politicians, their bureaucrats, ‘chosen’ scientists, consultants, farmers and the grubby end of business has the same ugly smell about it. That government in this country should support the commercial kangaroo killing industry as a crude way of making money and winning rural electorate votes smacks of cold-hearted and valueless politics that make Faust look like a junior league player. Nothing stacks up to support the continuance of the commercial kangaroo killing industry. Next to the Statue of Liberty, the kangaroo is one of the most recognised global icons and, along with other Australian wildlife, is a significant tourism booster that contributes many times more in national revenue than any commercial killing programme. The commercial killing of kangaroos fails all the tests of economics, human health, animal welfare, and environmental sustainability criteria.
How is it that some farmers who have drenched the earth with chemicals, clear-felled and overgrazed the landscape, and over-used scarce water supplies in a fragile land, and have an appalling record of animal welfare, have the temerity to blame kangaroos for environmental damage and loss in productivity?
This soft-footed animal has been an integral and important element in our landscape for sixteen million years. More to the point how is it that governments are persuaded by the lobbying of such unreliable witnesses? There is no factual evidence to support a case that kangaroos have a negative impact on productivity, as the farming lobby claims. Indeed, there is more scientific evidence that kangaroos have a beneficial impact on soil quality. Farmers have been one of the main agents in brutality towards kangaroos. Other animals also suffer at their hands. Such practices as sow pig stalls, caged chickens, mulesing of lambs, separating weaning calves from their mothers, and the live export trade cause farm animals extreme fear and suffering. That governments can continue to turn a blind eye to the barbaric treatment of animals, despite the overwhelming graphic evidence presented to them, is a serious indictment of their moral standing.
Human exceptionalism has got environmental sustainability completely wrong and it is time that we sought new knowledge about this from those creatures whose life has been inextricably connected to the land for millennia. Educated humans have created the global environmental mess we are in today. The argument that there is no limit to human creativity and knowledge and that this will save the planet from environmental catastrophe needs to be weighed against the notion of wisdom, since humans are, generally, a narcissistic, self-indulgent and sometimes brutal and destructive species. Their creativity and new knowledge does not always accord with a common planetary good and what a fair-minded society might expect.
This raises the question of what kind of education and learning is needed by humans to allow knowledge, innovation and creativity to wrestle effectively with the challenging and fundamental global problem of environmental sustainability. It also raises the interesting thought of the knowledge non-humans might share with humans in our learning about environmental sustainability - just as we, tormented in the presence of the kangaroos this night, seek their guidance on the important qualities of what being human could mean for a better world.
The kangaroo is an ideal creature from whom to learn about environmental sustainability. The social and gentle nature of kangaroos, their ability to range over large areas of the landscape, their vulnerability in limiting environments, and the overtness in the expression of their emotions makes them particularly suited, as wild animals, for humans to learn from about environmental integrity. A ‘new way of knowing’ about sustainability is required that seeks to learn directly from wildlife through their emotional states, as individuals and in their social groups, through a ‘being-for’ relational ethic of care. Based on this ethic, we can incorporate recent research on affective neuroscience in mammals to provide the building blocks for identifying and interpreting emotion markers in various contexts, including in the wild environment.
This approach to knowing about environmental sustainability seeks to go beyond learning superficially about animal biophysics and biota from obtuse, human, scientific experimentation and simple observation. Introducing learning into the mix of an encounter with a wild animal, underpinned by an ethic of care and a means of non-verbal communication, raises interesting implications that not only highlight the shallowness of common approaches to conservation, ecology and green politics, but also of utilitarian ethics.
Much of today’s conservation, ecology, green politics and animal welfare agenda have contributed to an increased dualism between humans and wildlife. Unfortunately, as a result, a collective, objectified, quantitative, non-relational approach to animal ‘science’ has taken precedence over the lives of individual animals, their emotions and their personalities and of how our relations with them can yield new information and learning through transformative encounters.
When it comes to wildlife, conservation and green politics rely on analysis of animal numbers in the form of a collective biota, viewing animals only as objects that respond physically to environmental stimuli, rather than as live subjects with cognition, emotion and individual personalities. If the conservationist assesses that there are ‘too many’ wild animals of a particular species in a particular environment a programme of killing is usually advocated and if ‘too few’, a programme of captive breeding is advocated. Such narrow quantitative determinism ensures that we make little real progress in our broader knowledge and learning of sustainability, because it assumes humans have all the answers and all the world’s environmental problems can be ‘managed’ and even solved by experimentation on animals by human scientists rather than by learning from them through relational transformation.
The animal rights agenda is also not always helpful in our learning about environmental sustainability from wildlife because it is built around moral and ethical concepts, value utility, and degrees of consciousness. Being in the presence of these animals and learning from them on this night, on their terms, suggests that the use of these concepts is an abstraction from the realism of a direct and prolonged meaningful relational encounter between a human and an animal. It might be argued that the animal rights and animal welfare philosophies rely too little on actual transformational connections with animals and too much on conceptual obliqueness.
On this occasion however we have come to these animals not only to renew a friendship and to learn about questions of environmental sustainability, but with a problem, as if travelling to Delphi to visit the Oracle, for dealing with a human torment – a torment that afflicts many right-minded caring humans. Why should we allow ourselves to be tormented and bullied by lesser beings – insensitive humans who practise brutality and disregard? In many ways they are lesser beings than those non-humans in our presence.
Whether it is the homeless, the disabled, the aged, the abused, or a fragile creature such as an infant kangaroo, wombat, magpie, lamb, chicken, calf or lizard, a better society is one in which a gentle hand is extended to all beings to give a second chance, when there is kindness and respect, when suffering is relieved and when hope and opportunity are supported to flourish. If there is no heart and no soul in this place and economic rationalism and complacency are the order of the day, society is diminished and unattractive. Where there is no recognition and responsibility toward otherness, the future will be uncertain and our cathedrals will continue to be the shopping malls, sports stadiums, plasma televisions and virtual reality, as short-term palliatives for our community’s bleakness and search for moral and ethical meaning.
It is now very late, almost midnight. Chronological time has raced along, but time for us has stood still. There has been a mass of overlapping and conflicting emotions while we have been in the presence of these wild kangaroos and we have not yet managed to logically untangle it. Perhaps it cannot be done. There has to be more to do than just wring our hands and yell out our quiet complaints to the animal abusers and the governments that facilitate animal cruelty. These animals cannot escape the harsh realities of a world made unsafe by humans by recourse to the pills, alcohol and virtual reality of the television and internet on which humans increasingly rely. These animals take it as it comes without complaint. Unlike Elizabeth Costello we cannot leave our torment unresolved – we owe it to the animals in our presence this night, to all the injured animals we rehabilitate for a second chance at life, and to all the animals suffering abuse and distress who have no voice and no money to capture attention .
Many politicians only know one language – they have been seduced by the ‘Faust factor’ and will do anything to be re-elected – to stay in power. They will respond to the loudest voice and the most money; so those with no voice and no money can hope for nothing. There is a need for a political party that appreciates that living beings of all kinds have lives of meaning in their own right and recognises that the policies and practices of governments should not put money ahead of lives, and power and ignorance ahead of understanding. The short-sighted nastiness of much of government today does not value animals for who they are, or cherish the remarkable worlds they seek to remain a part of. Government policy needs to embrace the two interconnected principles of wellbeing and capability. Wellbeing is based on fairness, so that animals can enjoy their rightful place on this Earth and be able to go about their normal lives without cruelty being inflicted on them by humans. Capability is based on the contribution of animals to our companionship, to our wonderment and joy, to our knowledge of other beings and to enhancing the sustainability of the landscape and seascape for all. It is also about an animal’s ability to nurture its young, to play, to be inquisitive, to make its home, and to grow old.
Our time in the presence of these wild animals this night comes to an abrupt and seemingly unsatisfactory end when a phone call from an animal rescuer informs us that a small injured kangaroo joey is being brought to us for help. We have to go and it is always hard to say goodbye. Seeing these animals flourishing in their own environment, but still maintaining a connection with us as a genus they ordinarily recoil from, has temporarily replenished our souls and we return again to the human world that does not want to leave you alone and does not satisfy.
When we meet the rescuer we find a very small female joey with an open fracture of the lower leg and a fractured tail as well as other wounds caused by a motor vehicle accident. Her mother is dead. She is also dehydrated, having been fully exposed near a busy road for many hours. Thousands of motorists must have passed this little injured joey without stopping to care or help. We call her Sylvie.
Even though it is well past midnight we call our dedicated wildlife veterinarian and explain the situation. Following his advice, Sylvie has pain relief, antibiotics and is rehydrated. Her wounds are cleaned and her fractures are reduced and splinted. She then has a warm bottle of formula and sleeps peacefully in a cosy bag. Over the following months Sylvie does well and grows into as strong a kangaroo as any. She is one of the lucky kangaroos who has survived severe trauma. Our way of relieving our torment in a human world is to give wild creatures such as Sylvie a second chance so that we might enjoy her company in the wild in the future, as we have done this night with the other lucky ones.*
* Read Sylvie's story of rehabilitation at http://candobetter.net/node/1937
In 2009 the author established the Animal Justice Party of Australia (AJP) which was registered as an official political party by the Australian Electoral Commission in March 2011. He was foundation president of the AJP in 2009-2012. This is Australia’s first and only political party with the specific goal of achieving better wellbeing and capability realisation for all Australia’s animals through the parliamentary system (see www.animaljusticeparty.org).
Coetzee, J. M. 2001. The Lives of Animals, Princeton University Press, Princeton, New Jersey.
De Saint-Exupery, A. 1991. The Little Prince, Mammoth Press, London.
Safina, C. 1997. Song for the Blue Ocean: Encounters Along the World’s Coasts and Beneath the Seas, Henry Holt, New York.
Safina, C. 2007. Voyage of the Turtle: In pursuit of the Earth’s Last Dinosaur, Henry Holt, New York.
Steve Garlick is an Adjunct Professor in Sustainable Regions at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia, and a Conjoint Professor in Urban and Regional studies at the University of Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia. He has previously held professorial positions at Southern Cross University, Swinburne University of Technology and the University of the Sunshine Coast, Australia. Steve is a spatial economist specializing in regional and community development and human capital, and also an applied ethicist, particularly specializing in animal ethics and animal studies.
Dr. Garlick is the immediate past Vice-President (2007-09) of the Australian Universities Community Engagement Alliance (AUCEA), and an inaugural fellow of that organization. He is a Board Member of the Pascal International Observatory, a Board Member of the Australian Government’s Innovative Regions initiative, a listed expert for the Talloires Education for Sustainable Development network, an advisor to the OECD on higher education and regional development, and founding president of the Animal Justice Party of Australia. He has been involved in international evaluation projects in higher education and regional development in Denmark, Sweden (three projects), Norway, Netherlands and Canada. In 2009 Steve was internationally recognized with the World Shining Compassion Award by the international Ching Hai organization and in 2010 was awarded the annual environment award by the Australian Wildlife Protection Council.
In his spare time, with his wife, Steve runs a recovery centre for severely injured wildlife particularly specializing in macropods and wombats.
Steve is a contributor to the upcoming book, Sustainability Frontiers: Essays from the Edges of Sustainability Education and a participant in an upcoming project on animals, ethics and education.
Brett Clifton sent these photographs of the late, much lamented "Bim-Bim", a siamese cat who was a great friend to baby kangaroos in Brett's care. This is also partly a response to a comment from a person who posted to this site this morning that she had just lost her great friend, Bessie, a dog, to roadkill. We have all shared such sadness for our friends from other species.
14 July 2007 - 11 August 2012: Those of you who were fortunate enough to know him know that Bim-Bim wasn't a kangaroo, but more of an honorary kangaroo, raised with them since he was a kitten. I am very sad to report that Bim-Bim was killed by a car in the early hours of yesterday morning on the very highway from which many of his friends were rescued. He escaped over the cat netting the night before. He is very sadly missed. He was buried yesterday with full kangaroo honours next to his old friend Pino in the sacred ground outside the kanga enclosure. (Brett Clifton.)
Photos (not necessarily in order of descent)
From K-a-Day - Day 81: Bim-Bim being groomed by Pino, October 2007.
From K-a-Day - Day 199: Bim-Bim with Pino in convalescence in front of the fire, August 2009
More recently on the water bed with Dolly, May 2011
Brett Clifton daily sends a new photo of kangaroos on and about his property to friends of the kangaroo people in his Kanga a Day series. This was A Kanga a Day - Day 1276.
Brett's website is brettclifton.com/Welcome.html.
Conrad Annals, Acting Chief Ranger for Northern Melbourne district has advised that there is no kangaroo cull planned in Plenty Gorge next Monday and Wednesday nights, contradicting what published here on August 9. He could not comment on the lack of wildlife corridors to and from Plenty Gorge in the face of high human economic immigration numbers resulting in rapid population growth and infrastructure expansion in Melbourne and the rest of Australia.
In this article's original leading paragraph, of which this is a rewrite, we said that the growth lobby (of which the organisers and beneficiaries are mainly property developers) is both benefiting from and causing this unnecessary high human population growth. This remains uncontested. We also stand by the statement that Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) protects and advances the costly interests of the growth lobby whilst pretending to protect our wildlife. We maintain that the growth is unnecessary and so is culling - when it occurs. The AWPC promotes another way: Wildlife corridors and relocation as well as stopping high immigration.
We have put the leader which we introduced this story with yesterday at the bottom of this article. In the light of Mr Annal's communication, we hasten to reassure readers that the rumoured cull has been officially denied. We retain the leader below for the record, which documents the fact that our initial information may have been wrong and we thank Mr Conrad for his timely communication, which we will pass on to our readers. We thank them for letting the Department know of their feelings because this may save kangaroos in the future. There have been past culls in this district and further afield in Victoria. The problem of human overpopulation and lack of corridors remains to be rectified. Examples of recent past culling or similar treatment of kangaroos in the same area are to be found here and here. In fact it was the problem of cruel treatment and lack of sensible policies in that area that resulted in the formation of the Coalition for Australian Wildife Corridors.
Translocation is better than killing healthy free animals. Open up wildlife corridors!
Please express your horror and disgust at the make up of Department of Sustainability and Environment, which cares nothing about kangaroos or other native animals. See for instance the recent expose by Skye Brown in "http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/culling-is-killing-not-some-act-of-humanity/story-e6frfhqf-1226443384194" in the Herald Sun Newspaper, for those who retain a passing familiarity with the Murdoch Press.
Know your Department of Environment and Sustainability (DSE) for what it really is
DSE is dominated by property developer interests and has for years been a commercially oriented, outsourcing planning and development department that protects and promotes human population growth. On the 'natural environment side' it retains almost no wildlife protecting staff, and employs mostly people representing the interests of property developers and shooters, hunters, recreational fishermen and farmers and generally promoting the killing and extinction of wildlife through their actions. Actions and policies in DSE demonstrate that real concern about the care and welfare of our native animals is very rare in the DSE Authority that your taxes pay for.
Please email the DSE Secretary Greg Wilson and tell him what you think at greg.wilson[AT]dse.vic.gov.au. Send a copy as a comment to candobetter.net.
DSE: Mass killing of Victorian Kangaroos in Plenty Gorge next Monday, Wednesday
AWPC has heard that kangaroos are to be killed in Plenty Gorge next Monday and Wednesday nights.
Plenty Gorge is located to the North East of Melbourne, in an area where high immigration numbers are resulting in rapid population growth and infrastructure expansion. The growth lobby (of which the organisers and beneficiaries are mainly property developers) is both benefiting from and causing this unnecessary high human population growth. This growth is being conducted in a manner that boxes animals, especially kangaroos, in with new suburbs and roads and then pretends that the animals themselves have become overly populous. We have previously published articles on this devastated area where wildlife have been hanging on as best they can. We in Victoria need to stand up for these gentle fellow creatures.
DSE, whilst masquerading as Victoria's natural environment protector, is really the headquarters of property developers and infrastructure engineers, who call themselves 'planners'. DSE is taking care of dirty business for the growth lobby by cruelly extinguishing the lives of many native animals. Kangaroo culls are the most dramatic of its cruel activities and DSE does not like exposure.
Relocation is the alternative to killing or to living and let living
Professor Steve Garlick and his wife Dr Rosemary Garlick have successfully relocated hundreds of kangaroos, showing that there is no need for killing these beautiful family oriented, social animals, even when their original homes are built over.
Killing is however preferred by DSE and so many pretend-environmental departments because those dictating DSE policy don't want Australia to retain wildlife in any meaningful way. They actually want our whole habitable environment to be turned into an endless suburbia and industrial park. They simply do not care what you and I think, nor how these animals suffer. Extinction is not of concern to them. They are concerned entirely by monetary economics and a growth economy.
Better than murder
DSE uses an inadequate Victoria-wide definition of ‘threatened’ which means that local populations can be extinguished without sounding the alarm so long as some numbers remain for the whole state. Pockets where animals appear numerous, due to fragmented populations trapped in small areas, are not assigned official “threatened” status. In fact little effective tab is kept of numbers.
DSE fails to assign official “Threatened Status” to species under threat
Former Executive Director Dr Ian Miles arranged for DSE Adrian Moores, Project Manager, Actions for Biodiversity Conservation (ABC), Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services Division to demonstrate to AWPC the DSE Actions Biodiversity Conservation (ABC) Data Base system.
”DSE uses an inadequate Victoria-wide definition of ‘threatened’ which means that local populations can be extinguished without sounding the alarm so long as some numbers remain for the whole state ; pockets where animals appear numerous, due to fragmented populations trapped in small areas, are not assigned official “threatened” status. Little effective tab is kept of numbers. More and more native species simply vanish!” (
Sheila Newman Land-Use Planner and Environment Sociologist)
Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC)
Former teaser, replaced in the light of communication from Conrad Annal, Acting Chief Ranger for Northern Melbourne District.
AWPC has heard that kangaroos are to be killed in Plenty Gorge next Monday and Wednesday nights. Plenty Gorge is located to the North East of Melbourne, in an area where high human economic immigration numbers are resulting in rapid population growth and infrastructure expansion. The growth lobby (of which the organisers and beneficiaries are mainly property developers) is both benefiting from and causing this unnecessary high human population growth. Department of Sustainability and Environment (DSE) protects and advances the costly interests of the growth lobby whilst pretending to protect our wildlife. The growth is unnecessary and so is the culling. There is another way: Wildlife corridors and relocation as well as stopping high immigration.
A recent article about Nigel Franks, who tortured a female kangaroo and cruelly disposed of her joey, led to expressions of despair and horror about this young man's behaviour. A criminological link between cruelty to animals and cruelty to humans was drawn. I would like to suggest here that there may also be a political explanation in the normalisation of cruelty to animals by Australian authorities. Governments are demonstrating that they think it is okay to mistreat these sentient creatures, with the thinnest of justifications. At the end of this article I will suggest that this political attitude may forerun government violence against citizens in Australia.
Public shame for one, Status for another
One does not have to go so very far to see the example that Nigel Franks may have been following. Australian Government attitudes to kangaroos are appalling. They are violent, cruel, and use corrupt science (see "ACT Roo killings: Who profits? Behind the Earless Dragon mask". In mild contradiction to other anemic motherhood statements about 'biodiversity', their actions denigrate nature and objectify warm-blooded social animals by acting as if they have no family feelings and no rights to place and life itself.
Government propaganda an inspiration to sadists?
Individuals who are gratuitously violent towards kangaroos quite possibly justify their actions as getting rid of 'pests' just like the ACT and other state governments. Kangaroos are not pests, of course, but they are demonised and objectified as such. "Theories" on kangaroo overpopulation ignore Australian Federal and State government policies to artificially stimulate human population growth on and around kangaroo territory and to run cattle and sheep in competition with kangaroos, even in the National Parks. Practice purportedly based on scientific theory on kangaroo overpopulation even ignores its own research. ACT government scientist, Don Fletcher, has been supportive of kangaroo culls on the basis of 'overpopulation', yet his own doctoral thesis, on my reading, completely undermines those attitudes. For instance, he wrote on page 237 of his study  that :
“The study did not provide evidence that high densities of kangaroos reduce groundcover to the levels where erosion can accelerate. Unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in low levels of ground cover. Groundcover had a positive but not significant relationship to kangaroo density, with the highest cover at the wettest site where kangaroo density was highest. Weather has an important influence on groundcover.”
Translation, if needed: Fletcher found that very high densities of kangaroos, even in wet weather, have unimportant impact on grassland.
Fletcher also wrote that some of the populations he was studying were at the highest density recorded. They ranged between 4.5 and 5.1 kangaroos per hectare. The density in the studies below was expressed in square kilometers. To get density per hectare, divide by 100. Fletcher wrote:
“The kangaroo density estimates reported in Chapter 7 for the three study sites (mean eastern grey kangaroo densities of 450, 480 and 510 km2) are the highest kangaroo densities reported. For comparison, the maximum density of combined red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos in the Kinchega study was less than 56 km2 (Bayliss 1987) and the density of eastern grey kangaroos at Wallaby Creek (Southwell 1987b) was 41 to 50 km2. The next highest kangaroo density outside the vicinity of my study sites appears to be that of Coulson et al. (1999a) for eastern grey kangaroos at Yan Yean Reservoir near Melbourne, which was 220 km2.”
Does the emotional blunting affect our judiciary?
Was the magistrate who gave Nigel Franks a suspended sentence, disappointing many animal carers, influenced by the same attitudes? If the government leads with misinformation and violence, we can perhaps expect some of our judiciary to go along with this and some of our youth to act it out. Our laws and their enforcement also reflect this immoral and violent outlook, this unfair demand upon the environment that it give 100% of everything to our species alone (which then is siphoned upwards to the cruel and greedy elite who model these attitudes in the first place.) Australian State government performances with regard to carrying out their obligations under wildlife acts and environmental laws have been formally shown up as incompetent and mean by recent Auditor General reports. ("Tasmania, West Australia, Victoria - our wildlife are ignored by government," and "Damning Auditor General Report on Fauna protection for Victoria.".
Unfortunately demographic 'science' is full of potted attitudes like the clunky ones on which the ACT bases its 'wildlife management'. Whilst wildlife activists that compare the shooting squads to Nazi death squads may initially strike daily consumers of the Age, the Australian, ABC and commercial tv and radio as dramatic and implausible, the clunky swiss-cheese of economic and demographic 'science' is very similar. Hitler's message, on the basis of publicly endorsed statistics which really only bulked up church and business attitudes were that Germans should breed up and jews, gypsies, homosexuals, insane and intellectually disabled people should be culled. The ACT's message, on the basis of publicly endorsed statistics which really only bulk up growth lobby and economic scorched earth attitudes (shared by most churches, although perhaps not always the Anglican Church) are that Australians and new Australians should breed up and kangaroos, dingos, and wildlife habitat should be culled because they are clogging up the economy or are in need of pain-relief due to being too many now that we have taken their habitat. If possible we should make money out of them first by turning them into dog food for one market or gourmet meat for another market, composed of those who like to think they are showing discriminating taste and economic intelligence. Completely overlooked in this case, by normally humane people who are usually kind to animals, is that these creatures that stand on two legs like us, look forward like us, and bring up their young together like us in close-knit social groups, and can meet our gaze, also have feelings and memories like us. They may not be human but that does not make them nothing.
Thinking of animals as stupid 'things' pervasive
People are so blind to the consequences of what we do to other creatures that it is, not only possible, but the rule, for a human being to move into a new suburb and not realise that land was cleared for that house and that, therefore, other creatures were displaced. Then, when one of those creatures tries to fight back, no connection is made. Reading this article ("Woman-says-kangaroo-stalked-her-then-attacked."), about a kangaroo who attacked a woman and her dog in a new housing estate, you have to wonder, are most humans really so much more intelligent than kangaroos when they seem to lack such a basic understanding of territoriality? A more satisfactory explanation is that our society teaches us to ignore what is obvious - kangaroos experience suffering and can react to persecution.
Kangaroos are horribly badly treated in Australia. They are harassed, hunted and tortured, culled in thousands. The area where the animal described in the article alluded to above attacked or defended itself is an area of suburban expansion. We cannot know what that animal saw happen to its family, but it is very likely that this was its clan territory (clans are subsidiary to 'mobs') and that it has seen terrible things. The only reason people are surprised at this kind of thing is because they have so objectified these animals that they simply do not give them credit for feelings. This animal would be a refugee in his own country. It is heartbreaking for anyone with compassion and open eyes. I have spent a fair amount of time with wild kangaroos and have never encountered an aggressive one, although quite a few frightened ones, including some over 7 feet tall. As an environmental sociologist who looks at population and land-use planning I can see how our system is all wrong and our culture cruel to animals and to people and that these two things are related.
Overpopulation - human or kangaroo?
The reader may notice my attention to the problem of human overpopulation in Australia. My attitude could be described as 'eco-malthusian' but I have never advocated the culling of human beings. There are so many ways to defuse our population bomb and I have written a short book on this issue that identifies keys to stabilising population that are inherent in populations of most or all species, including human ones. Unfortunately for the status quo of dodgy demographics, I became curious and did my own research. I will be bringing out a more comprehensive book but the basic theory has been published and is available. If you really want to know how populations work ecologically, you can purchase Sheila Newman, The Urge to Disperse and Sheila Newman, Demography Territory Law: The Rules of Animal and Human Populations at Amazon.com and Lulu.com among other retailers.
Population and economic growth model and its consequences all unnecessary
The drive for economic and population growth in this country is counterintuitive to what most of us know to be true. For this reason constant propaganda is needed to obscure its adverse consequences and to make us ignore the evidence of our own eyes and hearts. We have every reason to think for ourselves in this case, instead of listening to our corrupt and emotionally blunted official leadership.
The financial and development industry reliance on population growth to fund expansion is no longer economically viable even in the short-term. It is contributing to the rise in the cost of water, power, food and housing. These high costs make manufacturing in this country extremely uncompetitive against other countries where the cost of land is much less. These high costs have contributed to the destruction of our manufacturing industry and our import/export imbalance. These costs are within the control of the government through the reduction of costly economic activity which is based on the creation of debt for the profit of a few focused beneficiaries in the growth lobby.
Employment is going to start to dry up and this is immediately very frightening if you are paying rent, mortgages or need to drive a car to get to food outlets. Once again, the government can mediate and mitigate the impact of employment decline. There is actually a positive way to deal with this. That is to halve the working day, share the work, and to reduce the costs of living which are in Australia’s control. Slowing down our economy by stopping expansion will save fuel, save lives, and save time for quality of life and local community strengthening. (I have written more extensively about how to cut down our impact per capita by limiting production and increasing local self-government, notably in the first chapter of Sheila Newman, Ed.The Final Energy Crisis,, 2nd Edition, Pluto Books, 2008.)
Unfortunately, instead of a democratic review of our resources and self-government strengths to meet the coming resource crisis, we have seen a rise in cruelty to other species and the objectification of citizens into customer-subjects to King Economy. Just as criminologists draw a lesson in psychology between Geoffrey Dalmar's and Ted Bundy's cruelty to domestic animals and their 'progress' to cruelty to humans, we should draw a warning from the increasingly blatant use of propaganda to justify cruel annihilation of native animals to facilitate the activities of an elitist growth lobby. As propaganda paves the way for developers to cover natural habitat and agricultural land with new suburbs for private profit, we may see that cruelty to humans follows the collapse of democracy in population policy and land-use planning in Australian states.
Are there any exceptions to the rule that destruction of local environments always accompanies destruction of democracy, equality and fraternity? Is the pain we know we cause around us a sign we should attend to for our own good?
 By talking about warm-blooded species, I am putting roos in a similar grouping to humans, but that does not mean that I think that 'cold-blooded' species don't deserve our respect.
 Don Fletcher, “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” was on line as a pdf, which is the form I downloaded it as. Now apparently only available from University of Canberra Library, reference: https://nla.gov.au/anbd.bib-an42269526. A book by the same title and author has also been published. For more detailed analysis of the ACT situation and the 'science' of the culls, see (see "ACT Roo killings: Who profits? Behind the Earless Dragon mask".
 I have been criticized for wielding the Nazi example as if it were the only example of depraved official behaviour in relatively recent history. Unfortunately it isn't and the wars instigated in the Middle East by western powers are a contemporary example of brutality on the basis of proven false propaganda (weapons of mass destruction etc.) Almost anywhere strategic to resources or marketable land sees dispossession and brutality on a state and corporate organised basis. See Naomi Klein's Shock Doctrine for a team-research effort in exposing the motives and examples of this.
 The theory of the book is written first from a sociological angle and then from a biological angle. I found that some sociologists had problems understanding the biology and some biologists had problems understanding the sociology, despite positive peer reviewing from biologist, Prof David Pimentel of Cornel University and Dr Joseph Smith, who is a doctor of environmental law with knowledge of inheritance law. I will therefore be bringing out a longer book, with a generalist introduction and integrating the territorial allocation part of the theory with human inheritance laws and land-use planning and historical and actual examples, in the next few months hopefully.
On January 11, 19 year old Nigel Franks was driving a car towards Huon Hill with two passengers when he hit a kangaroo.
Franks kicked the kangaroo's head twice while laughing, before stomping it to death. Franks then pulled a joey out of the kangaroo's pouch and threw it into a nearby paddock.
Franks hit, bashed and killed a female kangaroo, disposed of its young, and paraded the hapless animal's body down the streets of Wodonga – leaving a trail of blood!
Magistrate Stuthridge told the court that she was deeply troubled by Franks' complete lack of empathy. Why then wasn't he given a jail sentence?
Nigel Franks, 20, pleaded guilty to charges of aggravated animal cruelty, dangerous driving, careless driving, public nuisance and driving an unregistered car in relation to the January 11 incident. The "public nuisance" and driving offenses shade into insignificance compared to the animal cruelty crimes?
Franks was sentenced to six months jail, suspended for 12 months, ordered he complete a 12-month community corrections order, pay a $750 fine and that his licence be cancelled for six months. A more heavy fine could have been directed towards wildlife carers who are always struggling to find funds.
A psychologist's report stated the need for Franks to undergo further psychological treatment but the magistrate failed to understand his reasons for the offences. Actually, there is no "reason" or logic in the violence. It's lack of empathy, evil tendency, lack of a soul, and love of violence. All these traits are found in may violent criminals, and many have started their careers torturing animals.
Melbourne County Court Judge Gucciardo sentenced another kangaroo abuser-killer to jail for shooting an arrow in the head of a hapless kangaroo. They are a protected species.
The violence against animals is sickening and gut-wrenching, and animal lovers and wildlife advocates are advocating for greater protection and higher penalties for animal abuse and killing. This light sentence doesn't meet community expectations.
How many criminals start their careers torturing animals? Acts of violence towards animals are symptomatic of a deep mental disturbance. Research in psychology and criminology shows that people who commit acts of cruelty to animals don’t stop there—many of them move on to their fellow humans. There are numerous examples of such evidence from the childhoods of well-known serial killers.
Franks should have been given a custodial prison sentence to understand the severity of his appalling crime, but he needs psychological treatment as well as punishment. He should be supervised in learning to empathise with animals,how to care for orphaned and injured wildlife. He should pay a heavy fine so funds can be distributed to wildlife carers.
The community should be disappointed by the light sentence given to Franks, at a time when animal advocates are calling out for more severe penalties for cruelty to animals.
Wodonga Magistrates Court,
5 Elgin Boulevard,
(PO Box 50)
These photographs of a mass-burial pit in Canberra for kangaroos gunned down by the government was sent to me by 'Friends of AnimalArmy' with the message, "We cannot find an investigative journalist anywhere who will expose the corruption and the lies." I cannot understand why not. Don't we want to know the truth?
Do we want to know the truth?
I think that Australians do want to know the truth, but it seems that the mass media is letting us all down.
This infinitely sad photograph of the dead kangaroo with bent head and hand placed around the body of a hairless joey might remind some of you of pictures of Mary and the infant Jesus, and others of bodies in a pit in Auchwitz. The point is that the photograph documents a deeply tragic mistake on the part of the ACT government, that taints it as brutal and dishonest. This is one of several remarkable photographs that came to me via "Friends of AnimalArmy," with the message,
"We cannot find an investigative journalist anywhere who will expose the corruption and the lies."
"They are shooting 20 metres off major 4 laned highways during peak hour in full view of all traffic, being the ACT Govt they are untouchable and do not answer to anyone."
In the early hours of Sunday morning 3 June 2012, activists uncovered a large mass burial pit at the Kama nature reserve. It contained up to an estimated 300+ slain kangaroo bodies. Evidence was discovered amidst a slurry of mud and blood illustrating unethical and illegal practices including throat shots, partially severed joeys and mature kangaroos with smashed heads. The large kangaroo among the small and tiny ones is a big mature male.
These images were taken of an unearthed pit where hundreds of kangaroos have been buried during this 2012 cull. The images are graphic and may be distressing but think how the kangaroos felt. Can any of us imagine? It is most important to share these truths around to friends, families, colleagues, media, and politicians. Blow the lid off the dodgy 'wildlife management' that goes on in the ACT and blow the lid off the mainstream media conspiracy to hide the facts from Australians.
Click here on Animal Liberation ACT’s new website for further information on what you can do to help!
When I received these pictures from friends of 'AnimalArmy', I wondered where to begin to describe what I can see is happening. Leisa's poem (above) sums it up. Leisa has said to me that the longer she knows kangaroos, and she has worked intimately with them for 25 years, the more impressed she is by their intelligence and their capacity to love - "not just their own species, but humans as well." She also says, "When I look into a kangaroo's eyes I see a capacity to analyse."
In contrast to the Canberra male half-buried in mud, the picture at the bottom of this article is of a healthy South Australian animal interacting with a friendly photographer.
 This poem by Leisa Moore, a kangaroo rescuer in South Australia was originally written in memory of 453 Belconnen Kangaroos Killed by the A.C.T. Government in a Kangaroo Management Cull, 2009. Leisa called it, "Message from a Belconnen Kangaroo, 'Reflection In My Eyes'.
"The car was so fantastic as a rescue vehicle and I am feeling saddened that because of someone hating me so much for helping wildlife that they damaged my car, forcing me to park it elsewhere, this has happened. I recently broke my ankle whilst out checking on animals and relied on my car so much. I cannot continue in the short time doing what I love most, helping the Kangaroos." If you would like to help Leisa to buy another car, or maybe in some other way, we include an address for contact and contributions at the end of this article.
Today Leisa Moore, who looks after the kangaroos in the Adelaide hills, has no wheels. She is still alive, but worries about the kangaroos out there.
On Saturday morning, 2nd June, 2012, Leisa Moore's car was crushed by a tree.
Leisa has been looking after kangaroos for 25 years here. She says that at first it was a fantastic area, but over time mindless hostility towards kangaroos has accompanied population pressure and clearing for development. Kangaroos and kangaroo rescuers are unpopular with people who want to clear land for housing. This has made the kangaroos and her life hell. Although some people appreciate what she does, there is a cowardly group of people who want her to move on and stop helping kangaroos. Leisa is so dedicated - to truth and kangaroos - however, that she refuses to move and continues to go out rescuing in the constantly deteriorating conditions.
Wildlife carers' lives are difficult
This is the lot of so many of Australia's wildlife carers and the public should know. When something goes wrong on top of the general difficulties, it can be very hard to go on. All our wildlife carers need more support and appreciation. Most also need money, but they don't know how to ask for it, even if they had the time.
"I don't know what I am going to do now. I saved so hard to get it and really looked after my car. It was old and I won't be able to get anything as good with what the insurance will pay me as 'market value'. I waited a long time to get a good car as it needs to be reliable in the area I live. I drive in remote areas sometimes to rescue animals. I am already worried about what I cannot do tonight."
Leisa's practice has been to park her car in a particular area near council land and to go on foot to check fences and other hazards where wildlife, especially kangaroos, come to grief. She spends about four hours driving and walking areas each day.
My day starts as soon as it is light to check the roads for injured Kangas and return at dusk after peak hour till dark to make sure there are no Kangas suffering from vehicle collisions. I walk several kilometres checking the vast amount of fencing which is deadly to Kangas of all ages.
During those twenty-five years, but most especially over the past five years, for her troubles, she has been abused, stalked, and had damage done to her car.
In the past few weeks her car tyres have been let down twice whilst she was in the bush checking wildlife.
"Someone stabbed one of the back tyres and did a slow puncture of the other. Before this I found a broken bottle placed under a tyre. Last week I had to buy two new tyres."
Because of the attacks on her car, she accepted when recently a neighbour offered to let her park her car outside his house on the footpath in the same area to make it less obviously a target for the person who had been damaging it. She took up the neighbour's offer on three occasions, most recently Saturday morning.
The Friday evening before Leisa had searched until dark for the mother of a joey she found by itself in the bush. She was unable to find the mother kangaroo and went back home to bed, but she was too worried about the fate of mother and joey to sleep. As soon as it was light she set off to look again for the mother, who she feared was injured and stuck somewhere, unable to attend to her joey. She left her car outside the neighbour's house again, expecting it would be safe.
She says that she got out of the car carrying her 'usual gear' of mobile phone, binoculars, and emergency first aid kit, ready to help any injured animal.
" I had only taken about five steps towards the area I wanted to check, when I heard an amazing noise, one that I know well, the sound of a tree about to crash. I turned and just stared at my car as, with a crash, a huge tree limb thundered down and crushed it. It took all of five seconds. If I had still been getting out of the car, I would almost certainly have been very badly injured or killed."
The SES chain-sawed the limb and removed if from her car, but the tow-truck driver described it as a write-off.
"The car was so fantastic as a rescue vehicle and I am feeling saddened that because of someone hating me so much for helping wildlife that they damaged my car, forcing me to park it elsewhere, this has happened. I would not have parked in this area under the tree were it not for the recent attacks on my car. I have been parking in the other spot for 25 years, where at least no tree fell on my car.
Now, I am sorry to say, there will probably be many people happy that I cannot continue in the short time doing what I love most, helping the Kangaroos. I recently broke my ankle whilst out checking on animals and relied on my car so much. My ankle will take many months to heal apparently as I have done considerable ligament damage but ... I will keep checking and that is that. I just love Kangaroos so much. I will keep going. I am still a bit shaken over the incident."
Leisa is on a low income and uses her own money to help kangaroos in an area where they are persecuted. She could use financial help to buy a decent car and to help with the expense of caring for the kangaroos.
Candobetter.net would like to make it possible to help her through writing this article and telling you about her good work and hard times. If you would like to help, you could send money or contact her at:
If you want to help Leisa, send money or write:
National Australia Bank.
Acct No 62-224-2063.
Or write to:
PO Box 203, Mylor. SA. 5153.
"Canberra's Nature parks will be closed tomorrow for a "cull" of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. About 2000 are to be slaughtered for a "sustainable" number, to protect the flora and fauna. Polls of about 600 residents reveal that 79% of the city want the killings to go ahead. It's ironical that 9 "Nature" parks will be closed, under that assumption that kangaroos are not part of Nature and a threat to conservation efforts and sustainability.
Endangered flora and fauna are being threatened by "over-abundant eastern grey kangaroos". Just how does Daniel Iglesias, the public servant responsible for the decision, actually evaluate what is "abundant" or "sustainable"?
There are never any government polls or public debate on what is a sustainable human population, for Canberra or any city. Kangaroos are native animals, living in harmony with the environment, and softy-treading animals on the Earth. Humans, on the other hand, drive cars, use energy-consuming technology, change irrevocably the landscape, emit greenhouse gases and pollution, but there's no discussion on human "carrying capacity" or sustainable numbers, only for kangaroos!!
Animal activists have located what is believed to be fresh graves at Mugga Lane where 2000 of Canberra's iconic kangaroos will be buried during this year's slaughter, including the stars of the recent ABC documentary "Kangaroo Mob". Despite claims by the ACT government that their killing program is about protecting threatened species, they have failed to provide any credible evidence to support this claim.
The ACT government has also refused recent Freedom of Information requests from the Australian Society for Kangaroos relating to questions about recent culls in ACT nature parks. The Canberra government has breached multiple FOI laws by failing to respond to our request about their kangaroo culls within the legal time frame.
Thanks to the Australian Society for Kangaroos for the photo:
One of the intended burial sites for the kangaroos was switched to another location yesterday after the activists stumbled upon the proposed burial ground in south Canberra.
Parks and Gardens Conservation services director, Mr Iglesias, said the culling was necessary to keep the number of kangaroos at sustainable levels that did not have a detrimental impact on other animals and plants. Just how is "sustainable", a vague and ambiguous word at the least, measured? Grasslands were used by pastoralists for many years causing species extinctions and land degradation. Nature should be allowed to find a natural balance to restore ecological systems, and this includes kangaroos.