Support for the kangaroo industry from scientists

Professional Australian ecologists are avid supporters of the kangaroo industry, here are comments from just a few. More details can be read on NRS Brochure Kangaroo.

Australian government’s and scientists have over the past 60 years developed robust and well-regulated management programs for the four most abundant large species of kangaroos. These programs are designed to help keep kangaroo populations from spiralling out of control and presenting a threat to agricultural production and environmental sustainability through excessive grazing pressure.

However, the real importance of the kangaroo harvest to many Australian ecologists is the hope that it can expand to the point where it offers an economic incentive to reduce dependence on environment-damaging, hardhoofed sheep that are degrading Australia’s fragile rangelands and in the gap increase dependence on sustainably-harvested kangaroos that don’t damage the rangelands.

Prof. Michael Archer, AM, FAA, FRZSNSW, FACE, DistFRSN, FWAAS 
Professor of Biological, Earth & Environmental Sciences
University of New South Wales
The commercial industry is the most humane, efficient and regulated strategy available for kangaroo population management. Without it numbers fluctuate more widely, and landholders are more likely to take matters into their own hands to control numbers.

Dr Peter Ampt
Lecturer in Natural Resource Management and Extension
University of Sydney

All kangaroo harvesting in Australia is  carried out under management programmes developed from long running research into kangaroo population ecology by both university and government researchers.  Harvest quotas are set annually based directly on population surveys. Tagging and licensing systems ensure that quotas are not exceeded and the requirement for head shooting addresses animal welfare concerns.

The harvested kangaroo species have increased greatly in number as a consequence of control of their natural predators (dingoes) and the installation of many thousands of artificial watering points, both undertaken to benefit sheep and cattle grazing.  Commercial harvesting of kangaroos is therefore an important management tool.

Prof. Gordon Grigg
Emeritus Prof of Zoology
University of Queensland
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 about 10% of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Kangaroos, on the other hand, are nonruminant, forestomach fermenters that produce negligible amounts of methane. Farmers have few options to reduce the contribution that livestock make to GHG production. Using kangaroos to produce low emission meat is an option for the Australian rangelands for the long-term benefit of both humans and kangaroos.

Dr. Catherine A. Money 
CSIRO Leather Research 1966-2005 
Leather Research 1966-2005

With over 35 years of monitoring data across large areas and through a number of droughts and high rainfall years indicating no long-term decline in state-wide populations, there is now convincing empirical evidence that kangaroos have been harvested sustainably

Dr Anthony R. Pople 
Research Scientist 
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia

I am one of many Australian ecologists that propose that kangaroo harvesting should actually expand and not contract, to the point where it offers a real agricultural alternative to grazing of livestock that did not evolve in Australia. We know there are significant environmental benefits in producing from the animals which are adapted to Australian landscapes and climate, rather than exotic introduced animals. Added to this, kangaroos produce far less methane than cattle so that kangaroo harvesting is means of producing low emission meat.

George Wilson MVSc PhD
Adjunct Professor
Australian National University
Fenner School of Environment & Society
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