Report – EV1001 – Kangaroo Harvesting

Stefan Mårtensson, 990918

Kangaroo Harvesting

To overseas visitors the Kangaroos are as Australian as Koalas and Eucalypts, and are the most often seen and well-known of Australia’s wild animals. Some widespread and common types of kangaroos are harvested commercially for their meat and skin. This is a very ecological way of dealing with the serious problem that large numbers of kangaroos can cause farmers. This way we can use the natural resource the best way. (Aplin, 1999)

The ability to oversee and regulate the harvest would decrease if the controlled commercial harvesting of kangaroos would seize. (Environment Australia Biodiversity Group, 1999)

Why Should We Harvest Kangaroos?

Landholders can lose income, as results of certain species of kangaroo are so common in some areas that they cause major damage to the landholders farming and grazing properties. In large numbers, they can ruin crops and damage fences. They also compete with livestock for food and water.

Commercial harvesting lessens this risk at no cost to the farmer.

CSIRO scientist confirms kangaroos abundant

Dr David Freudenberger, Australia’s top kangaroo scientist, has urged more culling in some regions to prevent environmental devastation.

Source: Courier-Mail article bylined Michael McKinnon 28 July 1998.

The CSIRO’s David Freudenberger said yesterday that Australia’s 25 million-strong kangaroo population was proof of the abundance of the national icon.

He said British conservationists protesting against the sale of kangaroo meat in supermarkets last weekend were not only ill-informed but actually threatened the welfare of kangaroos.

“Culling kangaroos means a quick shot to the head while an end to harvesting would condemn many kangaroos to a long, lingering and painful death,” he said.

A vegetarian activist group, Viva!, has launched a new campaign against the sale of kangaroo meat in Great Britain.

The activist group has organised protests against the large Sainsbury’s supermarket chain, highlighted by mock barbecues outside stores by people dressed as Crocodile Dundee, or as kangaroos.

The group has accused Australia’s High Commission of lying to the British public by overestimating the size of the kangaroo population, and underestimating the numbers culled.

But Dr Freudenberger said kangaroo harvesting not only supported a $120 million annual industry but was environmentally friendly.

He said in some regions kangaroos were in plague proportions of up to 80 animals per square kilometre and could easily stand greater harvesting.

In any properly managed agricultural system, many elements have to be controlled to ensure ecologically sustainable production – in Australia the number of kangaroos is often one such element.

In grazing areas there may be different animals (livestock, native and feral) feeding on the available pasture.

To manage land properly, the total grazing demand should be considered, so the impact of any one particular animal should not be viewed in isolation.

Managing kangaroo numbers is part of the process of managing total grazing pressure.

In recent years there have been changes in the way that kangaroos are viewed by the rural community. Increasingly kangaroos are being seen as a valuable natural resource for their meat and skins – rather than a possible rural problem.

Harvesting kangaroos can change a problem into an important and valuable part of a farm’s income and management.

However, as is essential for any natural resource, the kangaroos used for commercial purposes must be managed carefully.

Leave a Reply