Kangaroos and their Kin as Essential Land Managers, Fire Fuel Reducers and Preservers of Water Quality
Australia was ‘settled’ with a European academic and nobleman’s dream of cultivating ‘wastelands’. Kangaroos were, and still are, mistakenly seen as ‘the stock’ of Aboriginal people – the key to their diet. The evidence from their eating places and stories shows the opposite is the fact.
Believed to be a hindrance to cultivation and competition for ‘sheep and cattle’ they are blamed for farming’s failures. This belief is perpetuated by government and ‘agricultural’ scientists.
To those who know kangaroo’s, wallabies and their kin each species have different social structures, make different noises and do different remarkable things – for which they are loved and cherished. To us the shooting and wanton killing of kangaroos is as abhorrent as the love of them intuitive.
But, despite our best efforts – the slaughter continues.
Now, to end this needless slaughter, we will reveal he role of kangaroos as essential land managers – to inform or, when necessary, dispute bad colonial science, to educate the public, farmers and the government.
We will reveal the essential role of kangaroos and their kin, eating the dangerously dry introduced grass species along and beyond fence-lines – the most common source of bush and grassfires. They are efficient graziers with even each kangaroo consuming only as much grass as two rabbits!
Their dry droppings do not contaminate water supplies, creeks, streams and estuaries with toxic bacteria as stock do and their soft feet preserve soils and prevent erosion. Their abundance in time of drought is stupidly seen as competition for stock when it’s a clear sign of how poorly adapted the stock we have introduced are to this southern continent.
Kangaroos have adapted to periods of isolation and climate change with their own methods of population control – unlike people and their ‘feral’ animals. They are extremely efficient using little energy to move and gaining the most from selective grazing. Invariably abundant in drought times which stock can barely survive they are shot in rancid colonial ignorance.
Region by region, place by place, the true story of kangaroos and their kin will be collated from history, the stories indigenous people share, observations and the knowledge of carers and others with special relationships with them. This will inform new science, management and their protection and change the minds of people who have never loved a kangaroo – and give more people reason to for in love with them and bring light to this dark ignorance.
Bob McDonald has worked as a naturalist for over 40 years, with brief breaks working in factories, on farms and fishing boats.
(feature image: Sheila Newman)