Tag Archives: ACT Kangaroo Management Plan

THE KILLING MUST STOP

SOURCE-SaveCanberrasKangaroos-photos-June25post_CROPPED

The Australian Wildlife Protection Council supports the campaign by Canberra and region citizens against the slaughter now ongoing in the nation’s capital of hundreds of kangaroo families and the trauma this traditional and brutal killing also causes to many compassionate residents.

This is an open letter sent by Canberra citizens to Canberra’s politicians of all parties.


Open letter to members of the ACT Legislative Assembly

We, concerned ACT residents whose rates and taxes fund the killing of kangaroos, demand a stop to all killing on Canberra nature reserves and a public inquiry into the full impacts of this annual slaughter:
▪ on animals;
▪ on people;
▪ on the environment; and
▪ on the reputation of the Territory.

Every year, over the winter months, ratepayers fund the ACT Government to send hired guns to stalk Canberra nature reserves at night.

IMAGE SOURCE: Save Canberra’s Kangaroos, Facebook post 25 June 2022.

Over twelve years — across 11,400 hectares of the Canberra Nature Park — 27,950 kangaroos have been killed. Thousands more pouch joeys have been bludgeoned to death or decapitated. Thousands more dependent at-foot joeys have been orphaned to slower death from hunger, thirst, cold and myopathy (a particularly painful and deadly form of stress).

Many Canberra residents feel their own lives have been placed at risk, because shooting often occurs near people, next to roads, reserve fences, off-reserve walking trails, or back fences of homes.

The reserves are also affected by the reduction in kangaroo populations, their keystone native grazers, and from the impact of shooters’ vehicles which churn up the ground, killing native species and seeding exotic weeds.

Many reserves are now covered in thistles and rank grassy weeds. These weeds will be suburban firetraps in summers to come.

What happened at Farrer Ridge?

 

Last year, 296 kangaroos and 120 joeys were killed at Farrer Ridge. Nearby residents huddled in their houses, distressed by the sound of kangaroos being shot and dying. Tragically, only 32 kangaroos survived what can only be described as a massacre.

Some locals, especially children, have cried when they learned that kangaroos they nurtured through the drought and the fires have now been shot. One elderly couple reports, “They were shining their spotlight into our house!” Another man was horrified to find a pile of kangaroo corpses dumped outside his back fence awaiting collection in the morning.

 

Experiences of residents at Farrer Ridge echo similar stories from other suburban reserves throughout the 12 years of slaughter.

Culling began in 2009 without any scientific baseline research on the ACT’s kangaroo populations. Since then, no plausible evidence has been produced to demonstrate any benefits from killing kangaroos. Every government attempt to justify this slaughter has been debunked. Independent research, and even research funded by the government itself, provides no evidence that kangaroo grazing has ever harmed any other native species or ecosystem.

During 2021–22, a citizen science project conducted a ‘direct observational count’ of kangaroos in all 37 of Canberra’s accessible nature reserves. This research has confirmed that the Environment Directorate’s claims of an overabundance of kangaroos is demonstrably unfounded.

This project’s findings are corroborated by a Farrer resident, who has walked on Farrer Ridge Reserve for decades. She reports that, until last year, the kangaroo population there had remained stable for 30 years, reducing during drought. Last year was the first year Farrer Ridge was included in the government’s slaughter, and almost the entire population was wiped out. This is the trajectory for half of all the reserves in Canberra Nature Park.

The ACT Environment Directorate itself confirmed, on 13 April 2022, that the kangaroo population of the ACT is unknown — but that it intends to kill another 1,650 kangaroos this year, anyway.

This is not conservation. This is extermination.

The Kangaroo Management Plan, which mandates killing kangaroos, and the Code of Practice, which mandates the bludgeoning of joeys, are legislative instruments.

Each and every member of the Legislative Assembly is therefore personally responsible for this tragedy. Please stop it before any more damage is done.

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THE CALL TO ACTION

Canberra’s so-called ‘conservation cull’ permits shooting of female kangaroos with joeys in-pouch and the bludgeoning to death of those joeys. Hundreds every year. Would we do this to puppies or kittens? If you believe we are better than this, please email:

▪ Your local MLA,
▪ Minister for the Environment, Rebecca Vassarotti Vassarotti@act.gov.au
▪ The ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr Barr@act.gov.au

For more information: go to Facebook #SaveCanberrasKangaroos
or email: canberrakangaroos@optusnet.com.au

 

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Mid July 2021: Canberra succeeds in kangaroo wipeout?

KANGAROOS IN URBAN CANBERRA ARE NOW FUNCTIONALLY EXTINCT

THE ACT GOVERNMENT claims that 1,505 kangaroos have been killed on Canberra Nature Park reserves by the government’s mercenary ex-military killers this year. Notably, the government has not given a breakdown of how many were killed on each reserve.
Here is what we know from this year’s observation and monitoring:

• Before the killing began, there were not more than about thirty kangaroos on Farrer Ridge Nature Reserve and not more than forty on East Jerrabomberra Nature Reserve (although there was a larger mob on the adjoining Jerrabomberra Creek Reserve).

• As of yesterday, when the government announced the end of the slaughter, there had been no shooting at Farrer Ridge or East Jerrabomberra Nature Reserves for five weeks.

• The government shooters shot at East Jerrabomberra only four times throughout the whole killing season.

• There are currently only three kangaroos left on Farrer Ridge Reserve, and none to be found on East Jerrabomberra though, as always, others will dribble in from farms and other reserves in due course.

APA spokesperson, Robyn Soxsmith, notes, “We thought the reason the government kept the reserves closed for so long after the shooting had clearly ceased was because they were waiting for a few refugees to wander back during the last couple of weeks, just so they could have a last little mini bloodbath before the end.

IMAGE: Zoe-Atherfold, iStock

“Thankfully, that hasn’t happened, and we who watched those reserves every night for 43 cold nights can get on with our lives again. Tragically, if the government really has somehow found 1,505 kangaroos to kill, those 1,505 kangaroos no longer have lives to get on with.”

Based on these known figures from two of the closed reserves, it seems likely that most of those killed this year were killed in the “research laboratories” of Mulligans Flat and Goorooyarroo Nature Reserves. However, given the scale of slaughter that has taken place on those laboratories every one of the last thirteen years, it is doubtful kangaroos, even on those huge reserves, could have made the 1,505. Perhaps local farmers are happy to let the government shooters supplement the shortfall from their properties — but even kangaroos on rural properties are scarce these days.

Ms Soxsmith concludes:

“Kangaroos across Australia are in precipitous decline, and Canberra’s urban reserves are now functionally extinct. There are simply not enough kangaroos left for them to carry out their critical ecological role as a keystone species.”

Frankie Seymour, a lifelong advocate for animals, an environmental scientist and a former member (for nearly 18 years) of the ACT government’s own Animal Welfare Advisory Committee, concurs:

“Why else would they be killing kangaroos three to four times faster than it is biologically possible for their populations to recover?”

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Petition: end the slaughter of kangaroos in the ACT

Frankie Seymour’s petition:

Australian Capital Territory government is still killing thousands of kangaroos every year in a cruel, unnecessary, ineffective and ecologically destructive annual slaughter on public reserves. This has been going on since 2009, and we expect the latest slaughter to be announced any day.

In 2015, the Australian Capital Territory government authorised the slaughter of at least 25772 kangaroos across the Territory. Most of these were to be killed on farms because farmers believe that native kangaroos compete for pasture with introduced livestock.

*Overwhelming evidence has shown that the slaughter is: ineffective in terms of reducing kangaroo grazing pressure on reserves (because kangaroos are pretty mobile within their ranges, and quickly move in from nearby farms to make use of the empty space);

*unnecessary (because eastern grey kangaroos are so slow breeding, have such a high infant mortality rate and manage their own populations effectively in times of food shortage); and

*actively harmful to ecosystems (because kangaroo grazing ensures diversity of habitat for a great diversity of others species, many of which cannot thrive in either ungrazed land or livestock grazed land).

The evidence also shows that the government’s kangaroo counts are inherently inaccurate.

Evolutionary sociologist and AWPC policy advisor, Sheila Newman, has criticised the research base used in the ACT Kangaroo Management program. (See https://candobetter.net/node/4822). Her review of the literature concludes that “culling” may actually increase kangaroo populations by speeding up reproduction, with the selecting in of smaller, earlier maturing kangaroos and the selecting out of big, mature animals, in a harvested population like effect.

ACT kangaroo management of kangaroos is narrowly based on numbers, rather than mob dynamics. “Culling” can increase mob sizes, as it destroys mob control from larger, mature adults, and gives breeding opportunities to younger animals.  Ms Newman says: “…harvesting, damage mitigation and culling probably accelerates population growth in roos” because of the ‘harvesting effect’ on their evolution which tends to select-in smaller animals which reproduce earlier.

The government’s own ecologist has admitted that the government’s assertions about kangaroos being a threat to vulnerable species were just “PR”, and that its claim that killing kangaroos will benefit biodiversity generally is based on a simplistic assumption that more biomass (vegetation) is better for biodiversity than the diversity of vegetation achieved by kangaroo grazing.

Furthermore, evidence shows that even the weak and cynical provisions of the Code of Practice are not obeyed. Although the Code of Practice requires kangaroos not killed instantly to be immediately euthanased by a shot to the head or heart, one young male kangaroo found in a government burial pit had been shot, bludgeoned, stabbed, then died of either blood loss, or possibly suffocation from being buried while still alive.

The ACT government must stop hiding behind its out-dated Kangaroo Management Plan, start looking at the actual evidence, and take some measure of responsibility for its own decisions.

Sign this Petition: End the slaughter of kangaroos on public land in the Australian Capital Territory.

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