Grow­ing roo num­bers spark call for a cull

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Times News - What do you think? Email let­ters to ed­i­tor@am­r­times.com.au. Therese Col­man

The re­gion’s wors­en­ing kan­ga­roo plague has res­i­dents ask­ing why the State Gov­ern­ment isn’t act­ing to cull the an­i­mals.

Con­cerns were high­lighted by the death of a mo­tor­cy­clist who col­lided with a kan­ga­roo in Cowaramup last fort­night and a sim­i­lar crash in Dawesville that in­jured another rider.

Mar­garet River Kan­ga­roo Con­trol op­er­a­tor Peter Stonehouse said the State Gov­ern­ment should be in­vest­ing in kan­ga­roo meat pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties in­stead of im­port­ing hu­man-grade meat.

“There’s no longer a lo­cal meat mar­ket, and if they’re not culled, they’ll con­tinue to breed,” he said. “Here to Al­bany it’s green most of the year, so breed they will. Our kan­ga­roo is the best in the coun­try be­cause of all our green grass.

But all our hu­man-con­sump­tion kan­ga­roo is im­ported from over east.” The Depart­ment of Bio­di­ver­sity, Con­ser­va­tion and At­trac­tions told the Times kan­ga­roo den­si­ties had re­mained “rel­a­tively sta­ble over the past 10 years”, but Mar­garet River­based MLC Steve Thomas said kan­ga­roo pop­u­la­tions were def­i­nitely in­creas­ing.

As a for­mer vet­eri­nar­ian, the shadow min­is­ter for en­vi­ron­ment said the in­crease was the out­come of a healthy seven-year breed­ing cy­cle, with feral roos dam­ag­ing farms and State for­est.

“Sum­mer rain­fall over the past two years and healthy pas­tures mean the kan­ga­roos have a great source of nu­tri­tion that’s ben­e­fi­cial to their breed­ing habit,” Dr Thomas said.

“The (DBCA) are meant to man­age kan­ga­roos in na­tional parks and State for­est, and the (Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment) deal with farms and vine­yards where kan­ga­roos are a pest.

“Re­gard­less, a pop­u­la­tion con- trol is re­quired. Al­though they’re na­tive, they are do­ing a great deal of dam­age to the new growth and re­gen­er­a­tion in our State forests.”

Last year, the Times re­ported a de­ci­sion by pet food man­u­fac­tur­ers to cease sourc­ing lo­cal kan­ga­roos re­moved a mar­ket-driven mech­a­nism for keep­ing roo num­bers man­age­able. Dr Thomas echoed Mr Stonehouse’s con­cerns about the lack of meat pro­cess­ing fa­cil­i­ties and said the State Gov­ern­ment was “wast­ing re­sources” not us­ing lo­cal shoot­ers. Mr Stonehouse said there were more than 380 WA shoot­ers out of work “be­cause there’s no lo­cal mar­ket for kan­ga­roo meat”.

The DBCA told the Times it did not “gen­er­ally un­der­take culling on land they man­age, but is­sue dam­age li­cences to pri­vate prop­erty own­ers on a case-by-case ba­sis”.

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