Kangaroo Culling - Kangaroo Overpopulation in Australia
Kangaroos play a big part in Australia’s identity. People from all around the world associate Australia with kangaroos. Tourists would shop for souvenirs that either resemble a kangaroo or have a kangaroo sticker with it and the kangaroo is portrayed as a cute, fluffy friend. There is even a kangaroo (and an emu) on Australia’s official coat of arms.
However, the reality of the situation is not very cute and overpopulation of the kangaroo can have wide reaching impacts. Farmers in some areas consider them pests, as they destroy crops and grassland areas.
To address this, the Australian government has called for kangaroo culling in certain areas. Kangaroo culling helps reduce and control the kangaroo population by having licensed people hunt them. In most parts of Australia, this is undertaken to prevent the kangaroo from over-populating and from harming biodiversity overall.
REASONS FOR CULLING KANGAROOS
Kangaroos are one of the most abundant land mammals on the planet. Its overpopulation however has caused harm to several ecological environments. The Natural Temperate Grassland and the Box-Gum Grassy Woodland are two ecosystems that were declared critically endangered due to kangaroo overgrazing. Kangaroos graze on the grassy vegetation excessively, that they leave no shelter for some threatened species like the grassland earless dragon, the striped legless lizard, and the golden sun moth.
Kangaroos also significantly damage crops. Their excessive number results in an almost instant depletion of food in their natural habitats. The marsupials would then resort to consuming Australian crops and other kinds of food to survive, therefore also resulting in the starvation of other animals.
In response to protecting the country’s overall eco-diversity, conservation areas have since then resorted to kangaroo culling to reduce kangaroos in several areas. Called “conservation culls” by the ACT, they are relatively small-scale to date, but are considered a big step towards saving ecological systems. Conservation culls are also said to help reduce vehicular accidents and other incidents caused by these roos.
While kangaroo culling is considered common practice in Australia, this has also become a controversy.
People and organisations that focus on animal rights continue to voice out their thoughts on the matter, saying that the act of culling is cruel and inhumane. They also suggest that there is no evidence that reducing kangaroos helps the environment. Kangaroos are native to Australia, and therefore are balanced with the ecosystem. Further claims state that kangaroo meat is full of bacteria and is unhealthy for consumption, and that commercial use of kangaroo leather is unethical.
Anti-culling activists suggest one of many solutions: to move kangaroos to different areas instead. As they claim, getting rid of kangaroos is not sustainable nor necessary, and would tarnish Australia’s culture. Accordingly, there are better ways to solve environmental solutions than to kill the roos.
The culling of kangaroos in Australia is often argued with environmental sustainability, animal rights, and human ethics. While kangaroo culling is successful in itself, it is not always accepted by the latter. As animal welfare issues and culling laws’ effectiveness are questionable to some, further research may still be required. With all that’s said and done, the industry of kangaroo culling in Australia still lives on.