Heart of a kangaroo, Part 2

[Carol Mason wrote the text; Brett Clifton provided the photographs. This is the second of three parts. Part 1 can be found here.]

Ludwig still growing into his ears - one of the wallaroos appears to have taken a piece out of one of them. Photo by Brett Clifton
There is an issue coming up which is the follow on from a terrible incident. At Bathurst (a town in New South Wales) last year, just before a major car race event, the local council authorised a shooter to wipe out the last colony of kangaroos there in order, they said, that kangaroos would not hop onto the raceway. Any kangaroo would not have gone near the tremendous noise and confusion, seeking to flee. 

The previous year a simple muster of them ensured no problems. There are some moves afoot to prosecute the council, but it is a rare example. The kangaroo-proof containment fence is now proposed…but the kangaroos are no longer there.

In the place where the kangaroos are currently being shot, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory (A.C.T.), I am told by residents that some of the reserves are 10 kilometres wide, contain valleys and hills and terrain where kangaroo populations can exist extremely comfortably.  

Joaquin bundled up in his new pouch.
Joaquin bundled up in his new pouch. Photo by Brett Clifton
The excuses for killings are put down to possibly preserving “some” areas for a species of lizard, a moth, a grasshopper and a herb. All of these endangered species have been grossly disrupted or destroyed—for housing, training areas, etc.—in the past without compunction.

I live near kangaroos. I watch them live on the land. The footpads of introduced stock eat into the earth. Sheep graze grasses close to the ground. Cattle require big amounts of our often scarce water and feed. The kangaroos hop across the land, varying their footfalls. It is rare to see where they imprint.

The kangaroos have for generations lived sparingly on the land, prior to mankind’s “management”. If a rescued kangaroo is recuperating in a yard it hardly eats much at all. A goat or sheep will graze down the grass.

Acacia, starring in Dances with Alpacas.
Acacia, starring in Dances with Alpacas. Photo by Brett Clifton

I have walked the hills and seen where the kangaroos droppings lie close to wild plants, in benefit. They prefer to graze on grass. No self-respecting lizard would sit still for anything. Moths fly to where they want to go…and so it goes. Yet the same excuses are trotted out each year they decide to kill off a large number.

In the other States, it is often hard to even catch sight of a kangaroo. The Russian Trade Minister, being courted by vested interests to buy kangaroo meat (previously declined due to contamination caused by being shot at night in the bush in unhygienic conditions and with bacterial contamination), said at the end of a radio interview: “Where are they?” after a tour intended to show him the kangaroos in Western Queensland. 

 Acacia practicing her moves
Acacia practicing her moves on one of her first day trips to the pre-release enclosure. Photo by Brett Clifton.
He is astute.


4 thoughts on “Heart of a kangaroo, Part 2

  1. Pingback: Heart of a kangaroo, Part 3 « Crossroads – Cathryn Wellner

  2. Vicki

    The facts mentioned here are exactly that, facts!

    Kangaroos leave very little if any imprints! I watch them graze in a nearby paddock and they hardly graze at all … they rest and soak up any sun rays more than eat!
    My next door neighbour is concerned that I am planting out a ‘wood land’ on my property, so as to encourage kangas in my paddock instead of just watching them on another neighbours, two paddocks away!

    I have asked my neighbour why is she concerned if I have kangaroos on my property and her reply was, “Oh, I dont want them in our paddocks cause they will eat all the grass we need for our sheep”! How wrong she is, but do you think I can convince her otherwise??? Not a chance and that is the trouble with almost everyone living in this great land of ours, they think kangaroos are the enemy! How ignorant they are!!!

    Kangaroos take the minimum of the grass and only crop from the top, unlike cattle and sheep and horses who graze almost the full extent of the blade.

    I cry for those kangaroos and their babies who are so misunderstood and who are killed by these bastardly hunters!

  3. I fear we are fast losing the battle to save our kangaroos due to the twin evils of commercial interests that stand to make more money from a dead kangaroo than a live one; and an apathetic majority who are lulled into believing the kind of lame justifications our governments and aforementioned commercial interest trot out year-after-year to justify yet another massacre.

    During droughts the justification typically used was “to prevent them from starving”, now that the drought is over it’s “to prevent them from over-populating” – each time their numbers, and the vitality of their gene pool, are reduced further.

    As long as ignorance and barbarism prevails, these gentle, noble animals are gradually being decimated, and my greatest fear is that they will go the way of the Australia’s koalas, Tasmanian devils, American bison, or worse still the Thylacine (aka Tasmanian ‘tiger’) or Carrier pigeon – both now extinct.

    It’s like witnessing a national tragedy being played out in slow motion.

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