Experts unite in call for urgent roo management reforms
Wildlife scientists from leading research organisations across Australia including the University of Melbourne, have come together to call for urgent reforms to the management of Australia’s kangaroo populations.
This is in response to an overabundance of kangaroos and wallabies (macropods) resulting in the degradation of habitats of cohabiting species and the starvation of hundreds of thousands of kangaroos.
In a landmark special edition of Ecological Management and Restoration, scientists joined landholders and public land managers, to describe the animal and human welfare legacies of millions of kangaroos dying in dry times because their populations had not been managed sustainably or ethically.
This special edition of the journal will serve as a resource describing the risks and solutions for what is now openly recognised as an urgent issue for animal welfare, conservation, Aboriginal and farming communities.
Across the 25 research papers featured, scientists describe advances in the way that kangaroos are, or should be, monitored and managed to improve animal welfare, conservation and production values.
Associate Professor Graeme Coulson from the School of BioSciences at the University of Melbourne, and a member of the guest editorial panel, is author of several papers that describe how best to survey kangaroo numbers and how to prioritise management actions to limit welfare impacts to joeys.
“In some localised cases fertility treatment can keep isolated kangaroo populations in check, but in many cases lethal control is required to maintain appropriate grass resources for the health of kangaroos, and conservation of other wildlife and threatened plants,” Professor Coulson said.
Ecologist Dr John Read from the University of Adelaide’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a guest editor and contributing author said: “We were bombarded with case studies where overabundant kangaroos represented the main threat to revegetation and conservation programs, including examples where unchecked increases threatened the survival of wildlife species, including the macropods themselves.”
The edition also features a Joint Statement endorsed by 25 ecological, conservation, animal welfare and Aboriginal organisations calling for scientifically-informed reforms to limit “the waste, degradation and suffering that results from ineffective, and sometimes counterproductive policies.”