- Kangaroo management options in the Murray Darling Basin
- Co-production of livestock and kangaroos: a review of impediments and opportunities to collaborative regional management of wildlife resources
- Constructing the Social life of the Kangaroo: A Commodity Study
- Minimizing animal welfare harms associated with predation management in agro-ecosystems
- Potential conservation benefits from kangaroo harvesting (workshop report)
- Climate change and food security: cattle and kangaroos
- Total Grazing Pressure
- Where are the roos in your rotation?
- Building Cooperation and Collaboration in the Kangaroo Industry – towards a role for landholders
- Commercial and Sustainable Use of Wildlife (Suggestions to improve conservation, land management and rural economies)
- Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise Trials
- Native wildlife on rangelands to minimize methane and produce lower-emission meat: kangaroos versus livestock
- The kangaroo conundrum: home range studies and implications for land management
- Kangaroos – a better economic base for our marginal grazing lands?
- Sharing Skippy: how can landholders be involved in kangaroo production in Australia?
- Integrating Kangaroo (Macropus sp.) and other wildlife with agriculture in Australia.
- Kangaroos in the rangelands: opportunities for landholder collaboration
- Energy, water and space use by free-living red kangaroos Macropus rufus and domestic sheep Ovis aries in an Australian rangeland
- Pasture grazing by black-striped wallabies (Macropus dorsalis)
- A park with a kangaroo problem
- The kangaroos of Yan Yean: history of a problem population
- Changes in vegetation condition following kangaroo population management in Wyperfeld National Park
- Practical and theoretical implications of a browsing cascade in Tasmanian forest and woodland
- Building connections between kangaroos, commerce and conservation in the rangelands
- Sympatric prey responses to lethal top-predator control: predator manipulation experiments
- Introduced and native herbivores have different effects on plant composition in low productivity ecosystems
- The plants eaten by sheep and by kangaroos grazing together in a paddock in South-Western Queensland
- Addressing feed supply and demand through total grazing pressure management
- Land managers’ and service providers’ perspectives on the magnitude, impact and management of non-domestic grazing pressure in the southern rangelands of Australia
- Total grazing pressure – a defining concept for extensive pastoral systems in the Southern rangelands of Australia
- Prospects for ecologically and socially sustainable management of total grazing pressure in the southern rangelands of Australia
- Macropods, feral goats, sheep and cattle. 1. Equivalency in how much they eat
- Macropods, feral goats, sheep and cattle. 2. Equivalency in what and where they eat
- Balancing stakeholder interests in kangaroo management – historical perspectives and future prospects
- Water use and feeding patterns of the marsupial western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus melanops) grazing at the edge of its range in arid Australia, as compared with the dominant local livestock, the Merino sheep (Ovis aries)
- Insights on the relationship between total grazing pressure management and sustainable land management: key indicators to verify impacts
- The foraging behaviour of the Arid Zone Herbivores the Red Kangaroo (Madcropus rufus) and the Sheep (Ovis aries) and its role in their competitive interaction, population dynamics and life-history strategies
- Seasonal changes in diet preferences of free-ranging red kangaroos, Euros and sheep in Western New South Wales
- Impact of red kangaroos on the pasture layer in the Western Australian arid zone
- Feeding biology of two functionally different foregut-fermenting mammals, the marsupial red kangaroo and the ruminant sheep: how physiological ecology can inform land management
- How much do kangaroos of differing age and size eat relative to domestic stock?? Implications for the arid rangelands
- Kangaroo harvesting for conservation of rangelands, kangaroos and graziers
- Native wildlife on rangelands to minimize methane and produce lower-emission meat: kangaroos versus livestock
- Time to Fix Your ’Roo Imbalance: (The Hidden Environmental Tax on Farmers)
- The feasibility of farming kangaroos
- Integrating biodiversity and wildlife into agricultural production systems
(Hacker, McLeod, Druhan, Tenhumberg, & Pradhan, 2004)
High total grazing pressure in the rangelands of the Murray-Darling Basin, including from domestic livestock, kangaroos and feral goats, has been a chronic problem for many decades…….The main focus of this project was to evaluate how well particular kangaroo management options might satisfy a range of interests.
The results of the modelling indicated that ways do exist to manage kangaroo populations to the satisfaction of all stakeholders but it requires the joint manipulation of harvest rate and harvest sex ration. According to these models the best compromise between stakeholder interests would be achieved by a harvest rate of 20 per cent with males comprising 70 per cent of the harvest.
Co-production of livestock and kangaroos: a review of impediments and opportunities to collaborative regional management of wildlife resources
(Wilson G. )
Paper by George Wilson MBSc PhD, Adjunct Professor, Fenner School of Environment & Society
Reviewing trials of integrated regional management of wildlife. It compares the value of cattle, sheep and goats to more than 40 million kangaroos on pastoral land. It provides a strong and detailed argument for building markets for kangaroo and encouraging co-production in order to provide incentives for landholders to become involved in producing kangaroo as well as traditional stock.
There is an increasing awareness of the need to match agricultural production systems to their environments and recognition, in the case of the kangaroo, that this animal is well adapted to rangeland ecosystems, encompassing 81 per cent of Australia’s landmass. There is also recognition that kangaroo is a healthy protein source, but Australians associate this particular meat with low economic and cultural values. For this reason it has not been widely embraced as part of a healthy and sustainable diet. By following the trail of kangaroo meat from remote Queensland to the supermarket shelf and the menus of European factory workers, a complex web of intersecting factors surfaces to explain the conundrum for the low valuation accorded to kangaroo meat. Historically kangaroo harvesting has been a very lucrative form of resource extraction when overseas markets have accepted the product. Over many decades, it has also returned healthy profits to those in the kangaroo leather trade and the pet food industry. Interestingly, major profits are to be made for kangaroo meat processors when kangaroo management is not integrated within grazing enterprises, thus negating broad ecosystem benefits. In the face of a lack of domestic demand, particularly from smallgoods processors, and the small number of processor-controlled abattoirs, there is little incentive or government support for rangeland graziers to invest as kangaroo producers. The stories of those involved in the marketing and distribution of kangaroo meat provide insights into multiple aspects of kangaroo meat production and consumption, and the mechanisms through which both the value chain and the institutional responses have been formed. What emerges is the key role played by animal welfare movements in shaping both the government’s regulatory approach and the industry’s timidity when it comes to promoting itself or its products. The inclusion of kangaroo in our food supplies is supported by ecologically based arguments relating to the conservation of the Australian rangelands, and the need to reduce carbon emissions. The thesis highlights the need for an institutional response, which can incorporate pluralist objectives.
(Allen & O’Hampton, 2020)
The impacts of wild predators on livestock are a common source of human–wildlife conflict globally, and predators are subject to population control for this reason in many situations. Animal welfare is one of many important considerations affecting decisions about predation management. We review the harms resulting from the management of dingoes and other wild dogs in the extensive beef cattle grazing systems of Australia to illustrate how these negative impacts can be minimized across both wild and domestic species present on a farm or in a free‐ranging livestock grazing context.
Potential conservation benefits from kangaroo harvesting (workshop report)
(Grigg & Lunney, Dan, 1994)
Throughout this conference the crucial need for the reduction of total grazing pressure in the rangelands was never questioned and the potential role of an increased value kangaroo industry as an agent to help bring that about was fully accepted. The meeting recognised that the low value of kangaroo products, coupled with an absence of any return to landholders from kangaroos, was a severe impediment to the management of total grazing pressure.
In this article Tanya provides an overview of the issues surrounding kangaroo management including: animal welfare, impact of TGP and influence of various stakeholders. Tanya concludes that low methane emitting, environmentally friendly kangaroos are a good source of protein. It could be argued that to sustainably feed the projected 9 billion people by 2050 and maintain good animal welfare practices, countries should look at harvesting animals that are best suited to the environment of that country. Climate change is predicted to affect areas of Australia that are currently suitable for livestock production, so there is even more reason to examine the possibility of co-producing kangaroos alongside livestock. Kangaroos could be a source of international competitive advantage for Australian ‘livestock’, especially with the growing consumer demand for a clean, green and natural product. At the moment this valuable resource is going to waste.
Summarises the impact of kangaroos and feral goats in managing total grazing pressure and the importance of gaining control of all herbivores. Refers to Western NSW and work that Cathy Waters did investigating the impact of TGP fencing with either rotational grazing or set stocking management regimes
(RCS Australia, 2017)
A survey was conducted in April and May 2009 by RCS on a property near Charters Towers that had been managed under time control grazing for 7 years. The previous 12 months had been very wet. The planned rest period at this time was 90 days. Early morning observation of roo numbers were made along transects in paddocks and later observations of roo grazing, scats and tracks were made. The noticeable thing was that these particular roos were targeting the shorter grown plants that had previously been grazed by their own species. The author concluded that the roos and cattle were eating the same species of plants and legumes but targeting different stages of growth and the kangaroo is not necessarily in competition with the cow but with the grazing manager’s ability to rest plants.
(Ampt & Baumber, 2010)
This report documents the Barrier Ranges Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise Trial undertaken by the Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems (FATE) Program from UNSW between June 2006 and June 2009. FATE and several consultants worked closely with key stakeholders (members of the Barrier Area Rangecare Group, Western Catchment Management Authority, kangaroo harvesters, the Kangaroo Management Program at NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change and some kangaroo processors) in an attempt to develop a collaborative kangaroo harvesting enterprise involving landholders.
An adaptive management approach was used to develop, trial, monitor and adapt a model for a collaborative kangaroo enterprise among members the Barrier Area Rangecare Group in the far west of NSW. The project was successful in developing a collaborative approach to kangaroo harvest management, however due to the short harvest trial duration, low harvest levels and difficulties negotiating with the kangaroo industry, it was not successful in obtaining returns for landholders and had limited success in integrating kangaroo management with other enterprises.
Commercial and Sustainable Use of Wildlife (Suggestions to improve conservation, land management and rural economies)
(Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, 2008)
The development of new industries based on well-managed commercial use of native wild resources offers the potential of contributing to more resilient and diverse rural economies, while reducing land degradation and enhancing biodiversity. This report examines some of the regulatory issues impacting on the RIRDC Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise (SWE) trials, which aim to test whether commercial sustainable use of wildlife in several rangeland sites can provide incentives for conservation and habitat restoration. The development of innovative wildlife-based industries faces a number of challenges – developing product quality and quantity, integrating conservation and production practices, developing markets and supply chains, industry leadership, unfamiliarity of the concept among policy-makers and the public, and regulatory and policy constraints.
(Wilson, Woodrow, & Edwards, 2008)
This report summarises progress, lessons learnt and opportunities identified in the Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise (SWE) trials which were testing if commercial value of wildlife could be an incentive for changing on-farm land management practices. The trials focused on greater use of wildlife species that are adapted to the Australian environment and climate to provide resources while at the same time encouraging biodiversity conservation and habitat protection. Progress in the trial was hampered by drought and turnover of project officers and the long-term nature of changing enterprise paradigms but showed significant promise with solid investment into the future to develop the concepts.
Native wildlife on rangelands to minimize methane and produce lower-emission meat: kangaroos versus livestock
(Wilson & Edwards, 2008)
This paper explores the opportunity for Australian landholders to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by shifting from standard livestock to low-methane producing kangaroos, particularly in Australia’s rangelands.
(Viggers & Hearn, J P, 2005)
This research studied the home range of Eastern grey kangaroos Macropus giganteus across different types of land use and in relation to population density and pasture availability. The aim of the study was to estimate and compare home range size in areas subject to different land uses. Three broad types of land were selected for study including: grazing farmland, a water catchment reserve and a wildlife conservation reserve in the Australian Capital Territory. The study found that the home range size was significantly larger for animals on the farm than in the reserves, although animals located in the remnant woodland area on the farm appeared to be residents that rarely moved beyond the margins of the woodland vegetation.
An address by Gordon Grigg to the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Wildlife Forum Series, this paper argues that the best way to counter the spread of deserts in Australia’s marginal grazing lands may be to initiate a marketing drive for kangaroo products to encourage graziers to reduce traditional livestock in favour of free-range kangaroos.
Sharing Skippy: how can landholders be involved in kangaroo production in Australia?
(Cooney, Baumber, Ampt, & Wilson, 2009)
This paper explores arguments for increased landholder involvement in kangaroo production to reduce GHG emissions, better manage total grazing pressure, reduce land degradation and improve vegetation and biodiversity outcomes.
(Wilson G. , 2004)
This paper described the plans to implement the Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise trials that took place in the following years on the basis of helping to shift the paradigms of pastoral production and natural resource management in Australia.
(Baumber, Cooney, Ampt, & Gepp, 2009)
This paper outlines the 3 year Future of Australia’s Threatened Ecosystems (FATE) Program’s approach to explore conservation through sustainable use of wildlife/kangaroos.
Energy, water and space use by free-living red kangaroos Macropus rufus and domestic sheep Ovis aries in an Australian rangeland
(Munn, Dawson, McLeod, Dennis, & Maloney, 2012)
This project measured field metabolic rates (FMR) and water turnover rates (WTR) in the red kangaroo and merino sheep under free-living conditions in the western NSW rangelands. GPS technology was also used to examine animal space use, along with comparisons of urine concentration, diet, diet digestibility and subsequent grazing pressures. The research indicated that kangaroos had smaller space-use patterns than the sheep, lower FMR and WTRs and estimated the grazing pressure of the kangaroo was 35-44% that of the sheep.
(Baxter, Moll, & Lisle, 2001)
Black-striped wallabies (Macropus dorsalis) are uncommon to rare in most of their former range, yet in parts of central Queensland where they are still locally common they are regarded as a serious pasture pest. There is considerable pressure from cattle graziers to reduce their density because of the putative damage that they cause to cattle pasture. Here we examined the effects of this species and other herbivores on pasture by monitoring vegetation cover between 1993 and 1998 in exclosures in brigalow, and poplar box communities on three grazing properties in the Maranoa region. The exclosures selectively allowed access to either: all vertebrate grazers including cattle; rabbits, bettongs, and wallabies; rabbits and bettongs; no vertebrate grazers. The greatest effects on the structure and species composition of pasture were caused by cattle, but wallabies did consume commercially important quantities of grass at some times of the year. This conflicts with local opinion that sees wallabies as the major cause of pasture degradation. Herein lies the management problem that sees continued reduction in wallaby habitat, and fragmentation of the species.
A park with a kangaroo problem
Hattah-Kulkyne National Park in Victoria, Australia, is a large reserve important for its vegetation communities, which were once extensive in the region, but are now reduced to remnants due to clearance for agriculture. The vegetation in the Park has suffered from overgrazing, and the rehabilitation programme includes culling kangaroos. Population management of this kind often generates controversy, and the author, a research botanist, explains why it is necessary in this Park.
(Coulson, Alviano, Ramp, & Way, 2000)
The catchment of Yan Yean Reservoir is situated on the rural fringe of Melbourne and supports a large population of Eastern Grey kangaroos. These kangaroos have been considered a problem within the catchment and its agricultural matrix for a long time. This article outlines the development of an interdisciplinary study into the ecology of the kangaroo population, impact on vegetation and kangaroos in the catchment and interactions with the rural matrix.
(Cowans, Gibson, Westbrooke, & Pegler, 2006)
Annual western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus) management programs have been implemented in Wyperfield National Park, Victoria, as part of a strategy for the conservation and rehabilitation of vegetation communities. Due to public sensitivity to the culling of native animals it is essential to demonstrate that such actions result in environmental improvement. An assessment of the condition of the river red gum/black box woodland, pine/buloke woodland and lakebed herbfield vegetation communities was undertaken in 1998. Floristic and structural data were recorded from 162 quadrats across the park. In 2004, these quadrats were revisited to evaluate progress towards achieving targets for vegetation condition. An overall improvement in vegetation condition was found for all three vegetation communities assessed.
(Hazeldine & Kirkpatrick, 2015)
Browsing cascades have strong implications for biodiversity conservation and fire management. The associational resistance and associational susceptibility hypotheses suggest different mechanisms. We tested the veracity of these two hypotheses by using small dry eucalypt forest and woodland trees.
Building connections between kangaroos, commerce and conservation in the rangelands
(Ampt & Baumber, 2006)
The role of landholders in kangaroo harvesting is an issue that has been revisited often over time as circumstances continue to change within the kangaroo industry, within rural communities and within national and international conservation frameworks. This paper presents strategies for linking the kangaroo harvest with conservation in the sheep rangelands through models that can provide economic returns and a greater management role for landholders in the kangaroo industry.
(Allen, Allen, Engeman, & Leung, 2014)
Many prey species around the world are suffering declines due to a variety of interacting causes such as land use change, climate change, invasive species and novel disease. Recent studies on the ecological roles of top-predators have suggested that lethal top-predator control by humans (typically undertaken to protect livestock or managed game from predation) is an indirect additional cause of prey declines through trophic cascade effects. Such studies have prompted calls to prohibit lethal top-predator control with the expectation that doing so will result in widespread benefits for biodiversity at all trophic levels. However, applied experiments investigating in situ responses of prey populations to contemporary top-predator management practices are few and none have previously been conducted on the eclectic suite of native and exotic mammalian, reptilian, avian and amphibian predator and prey taxa we simultaneously assess. We conducted a series of landscape-scale, multi-year, manipulative experiments at nine sites spanning five ecosystem types across the Australian continental rangelands to investigate the responses of sympatric prey populations to contemporary poison-baiting programs intended to control top-predators (dingoes) for livestock protection.
Introduced and native herbivores have different effects on plant composition in low productivity ecosystems
(Travers, Eldridge, Dorrough, Val, & Oliver, 2017
Understanding how livestock grazing alters plant composition in low productivity environments is critical to managing livestock sustainably alongside native and introduced wild herbivore populations. We asked four questions: (1) does recent livestock and rabbit grazing reduce some plant attributes more strongly than others; (2) does grazing by introduced herbivores (i.e. livestock and rabbits) affect plants more strongly than native herbivores (i.e. kangaroos); (3) do the effects of recent livestock grazing differ from the legacy effects of livestock grazing; and (4) does the probability of occurrence of exotic plants increase with increasing net primary productivity (NPP)?
The plants eaten by sheep and by kangaroos grazing together in a paddock in South-Western Queensland
(Griffiths & Barker, 1966)
It has been found possible to identify plants and to estimate their relative proportions by volume in the stomachs of sheep and kangaroos (both the red and the grey species). The method involves grinding stomach contents to a fine powder and isolation of particles of a given size range by differential sieving. It is shown that kangaroos are reasonably sedentary so that comparison of the botanical composition of the stomach of free-roving kangaroos with those of sheep restricted to one area, is valid. The three species of herbivore, during the study period of 1 yr and under the conditions described, were found to have food preferences. These preferences were specific enough to justify the conclusion that the plants of the habitat and the three species of animals constitute an ecosystem. There is no evidence, pound for pound body weight, that kangaroos eat more than sheep. Large numbers of kangaroos could have a detrimental effect on wool production since they eat considerable quantities of dicotyledons which are rich in protein and which constitute about 50 % of the sheep’s intake. Kangaroos, although ostensibly adapted for browsing, never ate mulga or berrigan. Sheep, however, browsed both these trees.
(Waters, C 2018)
Less than half the herbivory in Southern Australian Rangelands is managed by pastoralists. While livestock management which rotationally graze paddocks and allows effective rest and recovery of pastures can maintain higher levels of feedbase and ground cover as well as increasing floristic diversity and perennial grass content, these benefits may be reduced by unmanaged herbivory. The quantity and quality of forage available in the rangelands for all herbivores is frequently low, and as seasonal conditions deteriorate, there is direct competition between managed and unmanaged species for forage. With an expected long-term increase in the frequency of variable seasonal conditions, negative impacts of unmanaged herbivores will likely be exacerbated in particular environmental impacts. This will subsequently impact on short and long term production and threaten the social licence to operate for livestock industries.
Land managers’ and service providers’ perspectives on the magnitude, impact and management of non-domestic grazing pressure in the southern rangelands of Australia
(Atkinson, Hacker, Melville, & Reseigh, 2020)
In the southern rangelands of Australia, the capability of land managers to manage total grazing pressure, with support from their service providers, influences resource condition, livestock production and pastoral business profitability. This study investigated the perspectives of people who face the challenge of managing total grazing pressure.
Total grazing pressure – a defining concept for extensive pastoral systems in the Southern rangelands of Australia
(Hacker, Sinclair, & Waters, 2019)
In Australia, particularly in the southern rangelands, large populations of native and feral herbivores (including kangaroos, goats, rabbits, pigs, donkeys and camels, depending on the location) co-exist with domestic livestock. In recent decades the concept of ‘total grazing pressure’ has been developed, and widely accepted, to denote the total forage demand of all vertebrate herbivores relative to the forage supply. This concept provides a framework within which both domestic and non-domestic species can be managed to allow commercially viable livestock production, landscape maintenance or restoration and species conservation. The concept should have relevance wherever pest animal control programs, biodiversity conservation, or commercialisation of wildlife are conducted in conjunction with extensive livestock production.
Prospects for ecologically and socially sustainable management of total grazing pressure in the southern rangelands of Australia
(Hacker, Sinclair, & Pahl, 2019)
Numerous large herbivore species, both native and exotic, share the southern Australian rangelands with domestic livestock, which often account for only about half of the total grazing pressure. Although each presents its individual challenge to landholders, the management of kangaroos is a key component of ecologically sustainable management of the region because (a) they represent a significant component of the non-domestic grazing pressure, particularly in areas from which dingos and wild dogs have been (partially) removed; (b) commercial harvesting, the means of control that has the highest social acceptability, has been rendered ineffective by the actions of activist groups and market closure due to food safety concerns; (c) the task is largely beyond the capacity of individual landholders; and (d) the same constraints do not apply to other non-domestic components of total grazing pressure. Management of total grazing pressure, and particularly kangaroos, currently represents a case of market failure because the level of management that can be expected of landholders is not consistent with public expectations for resource conservation and animal welfare. Several avenues are available by which kangaroo management could be advanced to achieve both public and private benefits. These include adoption of an active, adaptive management approach to the kangaroo population, establishment of arrangements that will shift the general perception of kangaroos from pest to resource, development of an appropriate incentive framework to achieve desirable landscape outcomes, and continued evaluation of the benefits and costs of cluster fencing. These initiatives require both a greater commitment from governments to address the market failure and a proactive stance by industry to engage stakeholders, self-regulate, and objectively demonstrate environmental and animal welfare credentials.
(Pahl L. , 2020)
The extent to which goats and cattle eat equivalent amounts of forage as sheep has been based on their maintenance energy requirements (MERs) relative to a 50 kg wether or dry ewe, known as a dry sheep equivalent (DSE). As such, a 50 kg goat was considered 1 DSE and a 450 kg steer as 7–8 DSE. In comparison, the DSE of macropods has been based on their basal metabolic rate (BMR) or energy expenditure of grazing (EEg) relative to those of sheep, with a 50 kg macropod thought to be 0.7 and 0.45 DSE respectively. Based on published energy requirements of goats, macropods and cattle relative to sheep, their DSE values are estimated to be 1.2, 1.0 and 7.6 respectively. However, relative energy requirements may not be the same as relative dry matter intakes (DMIs), due to differences in forage quality, the structure of digestive tracts and selective foraging capabilities. Allometric equations that predict DMI were developed from published liveweights and intakes of sheep, goats, macropods and cattle. Given DMIs when fed high-quality forage, a 50 kg goat was 1 DSE, a 50 kg macropod was 0.7 DSE and a 450 kg steer was 7.6 DSE. Their DMIs were depressed by 35–50% when fed low-quality forage, but a goat remained as 1 DSE, macropods increased to 1.0 DSE and cattle increased to 8.3 DSE. The capacity of macropods to maintain relatively higher DMIs of low-quality forage than sheep is probably due of their faster digesta passage rates and more expandable stomachs.
(Pahl L. , 2019)
The extent to which sheep, cattle, feral goats, red kangaroos, western grey kangaroos, euros and eastern grey kangaroos are equivalent in their use of the Australian southern rangelands is partly dependent on the extent to which their diets and foraging areas overlap. These herbivores all eat large amounts of green annual grasses, ephemeral forbs and the green leaf of perennial grasses when they are available. Overlap in use of these forages by all seven herbivores is concurrent and high. As the abundance of these preferred forages declines, sheep, cattle and feral goats consume increasing amounts of mature perennial grasses and chenopod and non-chenopod perennial forbs. Red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos continue to graze mature perennial grasses longer than sheep, cattle and feral goats, and only switch to perennial forbs when the quantity and quality of perennial grasses are poor. Consequently, overlap in use of perennial forbs by sheep, cattle, feral goats, red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos is sequential and moderately high. When palatable perennial forbs are eaten out, the diets of all herbivores except feral goats comprise predominantly dry perennial grass, and overlap is again concurrent and high. In comparison, feral goats have higher preferences for the browse of a wide range of shrubs and trees, and switch to these much earlier than the other herbivores. When perennial grasses and perennial forbs become scarce, sheep, feral goats and cattle browse large shrubs and trees, and overlap is sequential and high. If climatic conditions remain dry, then red and western grey kangaroos will also browse large shrubs and trees, but overlap between them, sheep, cattle and goats is sequential and low. In contrast to the other herbivores, the diets of euros and eastern grey kangaroos are comprised predominantly of perennial grasses, regardless of climatic conditions.
Balancing stakeholder interests in kangaroo management – historical perspectives and future prospects
(McLeod & Hacker, 2019)
Kangaroos are commercially harvested in five mainland states of Australia, with the harvest regulated by state government wildlife management agencies and overseen by the Commonwealth government. Non-commercial culling is permitted, and although most kangaroos have traditionally been taken by the commercial kangaroo harvesting industry, the proportion taken non-commercially has increased in recent years. Management plans that guide the regulation of the harvest support the management objectives of wildlife management agencies and the kangaroo industry, but the plans do not successfully address the objectives of other stakeholders including pastoralists and animal protection groups, which focus on minimising the grazing impacts of kangaroos and animal welfare issues respectively. We reviewed the objectives outlined in the management plans for kangaroos in the Australian rangelands and examined alternative systems for managing natural resources to identify if improvements to management could be made. Current management plans for kangaroos principally use fixed harvest rates that are responsive only to the state of the kangaroo population and not to changes in the environments in which kangaroos live. This type of management is reactive, and opportunities for improving management of the environment are limited. A viable alternative is active adaptive management which focuses on explicit measurement of the response of the natural system to management actions and use of this information to modify interventions to better meet management objectives. Active adaptive management is appropriate when management actions can strongly influence system state but the impacts of management are uncertain. We argue that the management of kangaroos and the environments in which they live would benefit from the adoption of an active adaptive management approach by wildlife management agencies.
Water use and feeding patterns of the marsupial western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus melanops) grazing at the edge of its range in arid Australia, as compared with the dominant local livestock, the Merino sheep (Ovis aries)
(Munn, Skeers, Lauren, McLeod, & Dawson, 2014)
Western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus melanops) are large, foregut fermenting herbivores common to Australia’s southern woodlands and shrublands, but they extend well into semiarid habitats at the north-eastern edge of their range. At this range boundary, western grey kangaroos occupy open chenopod (saltbush) shrubland, along with Australia’s other large native kangaroos, as well as with extensive pastoral stock, primarily the wool-breed merino sheep. In this habitat, within a large naturally vegetated enclosure (16 ha), western grey kangaroos grazing sympatrically with merino sheep spent much of the day resting under shade trees, and fed mainly during the evening and early morning, mainly on grasses and flat-leaved chenopods. On this diet, western grey kangaroos had water turnovers similar to those of red kangaroos, at 1.1 L d−1. Sheep, however, used 7.7 L of water each day. Thus, although the sheep were twice the average body mass of kangaroos, the sheep used more than seven times as much water.
Insights on the relationship between total grazing pressure management and sustainable land management: key indicators to verify impacts
(Waters, McDonald, Reseigh, Grant, & Burnside, 2019)
Demonstrating sustainable land management (SLM) requires an understanding of the linkages between grazing management and environmental stewardship. Grazing management practices that incorporate strategic periods of rest are promoted internationally as best practice. However, spatial and temporal trends in unmanaged feral (goat) and native (kangaroo) populations in the southern Australian rangelands can result land managers having, at times, control over less than half the grazing pressure, precluding the ability to rest pastures. Few empirical studies have examined the impacts of total grazing pressure (TGP) on biodiversity and resource condition, while the inability to manage grazing intensity at critical times may result in negative impacts on ground cover, changes in pasture species composition, increased rates of soil loss and reduce the ability for soils to store carbon. The widespread adoption of TGP control through exclusion fencing in the southern Australian rangelands has created unprecedented opportunities to manage total grazing pressure, although there is little direct evidence that this infrastructure leads to more sustainable land management. Here we identify several key indicators that are either outcome- or activity-based that could serve as a basis for verification of the impacts of TGP management. Since TGP is the basic determinant of the impact of herbivory on vegetation it follows that the ability for rangeland pastoral management to demonstrate SLM and environmental stewardship will rely on using evidence-based indicators to support environmental social licence to operate.
The foraging behaviour of the Arid Zone Herbivores the Red Kangaroo (Madcropus rufus) and the Sheep (Ovis aries) and its role in their competitive interaction, population dynamics and life-history strategies
(McLeod S. , 1996)
The foraging behaviours of the arid zone herbivores the red kangaroo (Macropus rufus) and the sheep ( Ovis aries) were studied over a four year period in arid western New South Wales. These herbivores are subject to wide temporal variation in food abundance and quality. I examined their foraging behaviour to test the hypothesis that their population dynamics could be explained from the basis of their food and energy intake.
Seasonal changes in diet preferences of free-ranging red kangaroos, Euros and sheep in Western New South Wales
(Ellis, Russell, Dawson, & Harrop, 1977)
The food plants eaten by free-ranging red kangaroos Megaleia rufa, euros Macropus robustus, and sheep Otis arks in a low shrubland (Atriplex community) area in western New South Wales, north of Broken Hill, were investigated in relation to what plants were available. The study was carried out in 1972-74 during good seasonal conditions which produced considerable growth and diversity of vegetation. Quantitative botanical microanalysis of stomach contents was used to compare the differences in diet between species. Plants eaten and plants available in the vegetation were grouped as: grasses, flat-leaved chenopods, round-leaved chenopods, non-chenopod shrubs, browse and forbs, and comparisons were made at this level. Red kangaroos, euros and sheep selected grasses and forbs when they were readily available. When pasture deteriorated sheep selected mainly flat-leaved chenopods whereas kangaroos selected mainly grass with varying amounts of flat- and round-leaved chenopods. Euros were the most selective, eating grass even when it was present at very low levels. Potential overlap in diet between kangaroos and sheep was greatest under good pasture conditions and least under the poorest conditions. There was little evidence for separation of the two kangaroo species through food selection at the level of the groups of plants considered.
(Norbury, Norbury, & Hacker, 1996)
The impact of grazing by red kangaroos (Macropus rufus) on pasture biomass and species diversity was studied over a 32-month period in destocked open shrubland in the Gascoyne region of Western Australia. Grazing significantly impeded the accumulation of annual and perennial grass biomass in a degraded perennial shrub community and on denuded sites that were cultivated and reseeded with native shrubs. The accumulation of annual and perennial forb biomass was unaffected by kangaroo grazing. After 12 months, pasture species diversity was significantly greater on degraded perennial sites protected from kangaroo grazing. Commercial kangaroo shooting did not alleviate the impact of kangaroo grazing on grass accumulation. Unless more effective methods of kangaroo control are integrated with stock reduction, the recovery of degraded rangeland pastures is likely to be severely limited.
Feeding biology of two functionally different foregut-fermenting mammals, the marsupial red kangaroo and the ruminant sheep: how physiological ecology can inform land management
(Munn, Dawson, & McLeod, 2010)
Fermentative digestion in an expanded foregut region has evolved independently among Australia’s marsupial kangaroos as well as among placental ruminants. However, notable differences occur in the form and function of the kangaroo and ruminant forestomachs, the main site of fermentation; kangaroos possess a tubiform forestomach, reminiscent of the horse colon, whereas ruminants possess a large vat-like structure. How these differences in gut form might influence kangaroo and sheep ecologies is uncertain. We compared diet choice, apparent digestibility (dry matter), food intake and grazing behaviour of Australia’s largest kangaroo, the red kangaroo Macropus rufus and the ruminant sheep Ovis aries. Digestive efficiencies were comparable with other studies, 52% for kangaroos and 59% for sheep, but were not significantly different. Per animal, the smaller red kangaroos (body mass 24 kg) ingested less food than the larger sheep (50 kg), but both species engaged in food harvesting for the same length of time each day (c. 10 h).
How much do kangaroos of differing age and size eat relative to domestic stock?? Implications for the arid rangelands
(Dawson & Munn, 2014)
Over more than a century there has been debate about the interactions of kangaroos and introduced domestic stock, especially sheep, in the semi-arid and arid rangelands. The potential for competition between the species is still controversial, with pastoralists generally assuming that exploitative competition is a continuing feature of the rangelands, with competition by kangaroos leading to reduced stock production and carrying capacity. The current scientific consensus is that in the arid rangelands such competition is not common and occurs largely during dry periods when pasture is sparse. Competition is probably most persistent in more degraded environments. There is still debate on the level of impact of kangaroos on sheep productivity in those situations where competition does occur.
The argument is presented here that we should redefine the role of kangaroos in the sheep rangelands from pest to resource because their present pest status is counterproductive to the long-term conservation of kangaroos, the rangelands and the economic interests of landholders. At that time (1996) the idea of marketing kangaroo meat is increasingly being supported by landholders because they see it as a way of gaining better pest control towards the now widely accepted goal of having reduced total grazing pressure on the rangelands. A sustainable commercial harvest of 15-20% of the populations, however, is already known to be ineffective as a method of reducing total grazing pressure below present levels. However, harvest quotas high enough to meet that goal would be totally unacceptable to the Australian and world communities because kangaroos have such a high conservation value. So another way to reduce total grazing pressure has to be found. While kangaroos continue to be seen as pests, the focus will continue to be on ways to reduce their number.
(Wilson & Edwards, 2008)
Ruminant livestock produce the greenhouse gas methane and so contribute to global warming and biodiversity reduction. Methane from the foregut of cattle and sheep constitutes 11% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Kangaroos, on the other hand, are nonruminant forestomach fermenters that produce negligible amounts of methane. We quantified the GHG savings Australia could make if livestock were reduced on the rangelands where kangaroo harvesting occurs and kangaroo numbers increased to 175 million to produce same amount of meat. Removing 7 million cattle and 36 million sheep by 2020 would lower Australia’s GHG emissions by 16 megatonnes, or 3% of Australia’s annual emissions. However, the change will require large cultural and social adjustments and reinvestment.
Farmers are being accused of short-sightedness for failing to prepare for the present drought. Yet few urban observers understand that the current crisis is caused by a level of hidden environmental taxes that the urban majority would never accept themselves. And instead of doling out begrudging assistance laced with condescension, the community at large may find itself on the wrong end of a very expensive negligence claim. The current drought provides a once-in-a-decade opportunity for farmers to rid themselves of a hidden environmental tax that is one of the greatest threats to their long term viability, while at the same time correcting a major ecological imbalance. On many properties, the excessive kangaroo population will be eating as much feed as the sheep or cattle. All agree that ’roo numbers have multiplied because of added watering points, improved pasture and, yes, clearing. But few non-farmers understand the full consequences of this imbalance.
The possibility of farming kangaroos for profit has generated interest for more than a decade. This article discusses aspects of kangaroo biology and husbandry, markets for kangaroo products, and some legal and administrative matters that could affect a kangaroo farming enterprise.
Production under intensive conditions is limited by a low reproduction rate and a slow growth rate. Handling difficulties would also ensure many husbandry problems. Rangeland farming of kangaroos is limited by the mobility of kangaroos, their ability to jump stock fences and behaviour patterns which prevent mustering or herding.
(Wilson & Mitchell, 2005)
These implementation proposals for the Sustainable Wildlife Enterprise (SWE) trials identify two trial sites: Barkindji and Maranoa. These will be supported by research and development, program coordination and information exchange. The proposals in this report are based on “A Strategic Plan for Trialling Sustainable Wildlife Enterprises” (published in July 2005). The aim is to investigate by trials whether conservation-based enterprises can be an incentive to restore on-farm habitat. The process would give effect to the recommendations of the 1998 Report of the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee into the Commercial Utilisation of Native Australian Wildlife.