Kangaroo Management Taskforce Films
Discussing kangaroo management solutions at the national symposium
In 2019 the KMT hosted a National Kangaroo Symposium at the Australian Rangeland Society biennial conference in Canberra. While there we took the opportunity to talk to a few people to explore solutions to the kangaroo management dilemma.
People often argue that kangaroos shouldn’t need to be “managed” because they’re native fauna and belong in the Australian landscape. In this short film made at the 2019 National Kangaroo Symposium we talk about some of the reasons why this argument doesn’t hold up.
Kangaroos and Country
Increased kangaroo populations in recent years have had significant impacts on landscapes and native pastures, and played a role in the onset of drought through overgrazing and putting a strain on resources This pastoralist believes we need a stronger kangaroo industry to bring kangaroo numbers into balance and put a value on them so that they are valued as a resource and are managed as part of the whole production system.
Made in Australia
The kangaroo industry is widely regarded as an intelligent use of a sustainable resource and is supported by scientists, conservation groups and academics alike as being a benchmark model for the sustainable use of wildlife.
Commercial kangaroo harvesters take great pride in the humaneness of their approach, the food quality and hygiene standards that they uphold, as well as the calibre of their product. Their love of animals shines through in the respect that they show towards these creatures, and the understanding that it is far better that these animals are killed humanely by professional shooters and utilised, than culled for damage mitigation and wasted.
Did you know that on average there are around 40 million kangaroos in Australia and most of these are on pastoral land? Their populations follow boom/bust trajectories influenced by climate and resources but even though they are native animals, they can still damage the environment when their numbers get out of control. Most pastoralists love and respect kangaroos but would just like to see their numbers brought back into balance to avoid population explosions that damage the environment, followed by droughts which cause many kangaroos to die of thirst and starvation.
Our Country – Our Food
Meet some of the traditional owners from Mutawintji who have the right to hunt and eat their traditional foods on their country. Young Keanu demonstrates how to remove the skin of the kangaroo before cutting it up for a shared dinner, while Leroy explains that their people have been eating kangaroos for thousands of years. Kangaroo and emus still form the basis of their diet but they also live in a modern world with chopping boards, knives and spices and they cook up a storm with a fusion of both traditional and modern ingredients. Leroy and Keanu demonstrate that theirs is a vibrant, living culture that has both endured and adapted. Wouldn’t it be great to see Aboriginal people in other regions of NSW have similar rights to country to pursue their traditions and culture?
Surviving the drought
This pastoralist spends his days keeping his core breeding stock alive during the drought. He also has to try and stop the thousands of kangaroos on his property from getting into his expensive stock feed, which costs him many thousands of dollars per week. Lachlan is like many farmers all over NSW who are trying to keep some stock and hope the drought will break soon. Many others have de-stocked completely and will have to try and purchase new stock when the drought breaks – at a time when stock prices will sky-rocket. Lachlan, like many other farmers, says that grazing pressure from kangaroos has brought the drought on quicker and will also affect recovery from drought.
Sustainable Wild Harvest
The commercial kangaroo harvest in Australia is highly regulated and harvesters must follow stringent processes to ensure both the humaneness of the harvest and hygiene and food quality standards. Populations of the four harvestable species are monitored annually and low harvest quotas are aimed at sustainability of kangaroo populations and ensure that they are never at risk of extinction.
Peter Absalom’s famous father, Jack Absalom, was a kangaroo shooter before him and now Peter’s son is carrying on the time honoured tradition of harvesting this amazing, fully sustainable resource to provide the world with this fantastic source of protein.
A short documentary detailing the devastating effects of kangaroo overpopulation in Australia.