“Kangaroos are only good for dog food and soccer boots; well that seems to be the policy of various Australian State Governments”, Mr Chris Lehmann (Kangaroo Campaign Lead, AWPC) said.
“Current ‘management’ plans are aimed solely at providing product for the kangaroo killing industry with little or no consideration for sustainability of the species, despite the iconic status of our national symbol, the kangaroo”, he said.
“How dare we put the kangaroo on our coat of arms and treat them like a pest relic of our penal colonial past”, Mr Lehmann said.
“People all over world love our kangaroos; they are a major tourist attraction, but foreigners are totally bewildered by the appalling treatment we dish out to kangaroos as shown in the recent film Kangaroo – A Love Hate Story”, he continued.
AWPC joins with Kangaroos Alive (www.kangaroosalive.org) in calling for an immediate moratorium on commercial kangaroo shooting across Australia.
In addition, AWPC is calling for an immediate halt to unmanaged non-commercial killing and a return to licensed and properly governed animal control permits.
Finally, AWPC is also calling for an independent population survey of the kangaroo species subjected to commercial harvest in all states and territories.
In light of the Black Summer bushfires when an estimated 3 Billion native animals were killed or displaced, it’s time to stop and check the real status of the major kangaroo species.
“We simply do not know how many kangaroos there are”, according to Mr Chris Lehmann (Kangaroo Campaign Lead for AWPC).
“The official government numbers are not credible”, he said.
NSW and QLD shut down kangaroo shooting across major swathes of both states in recent years. Why? Because commercial shooters weren’t able to find enough animals to shoot (dropped below critical survival densities of a few animals per km2).
“If the government management plans and quotas are accurate, how do we end up in a situation where professional shooters cannot find a kangaroo to shoot?”, he continued.
NSW has increased their kangaroo kill quota by more than 250,000 from 2019 to 2020 despite the massive loss of life in the recent bushfires. How does that add up to responsible wildlife care?
“AWPC has no faith in the official population counts because of ‘adjustment factors’ which magically increase the number of actual sightings to create the illusion of sustainable harvest.”, he said.
A glaring example is provided by the Victoria kangaroo management plan, which claims to “establish harvesting zones and set appropriate annual quotas for each zone”.
Consider just the majestic Red Kangaroo. During the 2017 survey, they observed 23 actual Red Kangaroos and using an ‘adjustment factor’ turned that into a population estimate of 13,000 (*1).
Having found very few Kangaroos at all in 2017, so desperate were the Victorian Government to turn Kangaroos into pet food, they had another go at a survey, this time they came up with a Red Kangaroo population of 44,000. How many did they actually see this time? We now know it was just 91 animals (*2).
“Can anyone actually believe that when spotters fly all over the state and observe only 91 animals, that somehow, the real population is 44,000? This kind of political mathematics is beyond belief”, Lehmann said.
“Wouldn’t you like to have a bank account like that? You deposit $91 in the account and the bank tells you that actually there is $44,000 in the account! Of course, it is absolutely ridiculous and corrupt, but that is how the kangaroo management system works in this country. And the government is happy to dupe the public with fancy statistical blather to justify their lies”, he continued.
Not only are the population numbers wildly wrong — the current kangaroo harvest is unsustainable in other ways.
The killing takes out the next breeding generation, as the code of practice requires that all dependent young must be killed (by decapitation or bashing their head with an iron bar).
Other pertinent questions to be answered:
Q. Why are governments trying to add new species to the approved harvest list? (eg Wallabies in SA)
A. Because the traditional hunted animals cannot be found.
Q. Why are they reducing the minimum weight limits so low as to include joeys just becoming independent from their mothers?
A. Because they cannot find enough large adult animals.
Mr Lehmann concluded, “The gross incompetence of the authorities is obvious to anyone that looks closely.”
“The kangaroo killing industry is a cruel and unsustainable industry marauding across the landscape, in the dead of night, reducing kangaroos to isolated pockets of animals, and potentially unviable long-term populations.”
“It’s time to move from colonialism to co-existence. We are still stuck in the era of ‘if it moves shoot it; if it doesn’t chop it down’.
We can learn to share this beautiful country with wildlife.
Kangaroos could be the source of a fabulous tourism industry, if we choose to coexist and respect them.”
“After all, they have been here for 25 Million years, we (recent immigrants) have only been around for 250. They deserve a much better deal than they are getting from us.”
Credit (coat of shame): Ray Mjadwesch
Credit (for cartoon): Les Hutchinson
*1. A state-wide aerial survey of kangaroos in Victoria, ARI, DELWP, 2017.
*2. State-wide abundance of kangaroos in Victoria, ARI, DELWP, 2019.
(Both reports are available on request.)