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