September Stock Journal Column: Commercial harvesting helps manage roos
September 24, 2020
OVER-abundant kangaroo populations continue to cause damage to farming land, infrastructure and crops in South Australia.
Kangaroos have long benefited from livestock production because of the removal of natural predators and increased access to water and grazing land.
An increase in population numbers has caused adverse effects to the environment and infrastructure, as well as public safety due to increased traffic accidents.
An effective kangaroo management strategy needs to be implemented to protect biodiversity, people and property which also takes into consideration the welfare of the kangaroos themselves.
Kangaroos are protected by the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1973. However, there are various control measures which can be accessed for management.
Non-lethal methods, such as using fencing and limiting access to water, can help to manage kangaroo impacts in some situations.
If these methods are not effective, landholders can apply for a Permit to Destroy Wildlife through the Department for Environment and Water (DEW).
Permit applications are assessed depending on the extent of environmental damage, the threat to human safety and the previous use of non-lethal methods with limited success.
The management of kangaroo populations using a permit is the permit holder’s responsibility and the carcass must remain on the property for decomposition or for personal use only.
Another effective option is to manage kangaroos through commercial kangaroo harvest and field processing.
The process would be undertaken by a professional shooter and makes use of the carcass for leather and meat production.
The recently implemented SA Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2020-2024 has increased the flexibility of the commercial industry to assist landholders in managing kangaroos across the state by expanding the commercial harvesting zone, increasing the number of species available for harvest and applying a risk-based approach to quota setting.
A partnership between Livestock SA and the South Australian Professional Field Processors Organisation (SAPFPO) aims to connect SA landholders who are struggling with kangaroo populations on their property to a commercial harvester who operates in the area.
Livestock SA is working to collect landholder information and estimated number of kangaroos and the species on properties throughout SA to provide this information to SAPFPO.
The Sporting Shooters’ Association of Australia’s (SSAA) Farmer Assist program also connects shooting members with registered landholders to help with pest animal control, including kangaroos.
Both services are free and landholders have the control over who comes onto their property and under what conditions.
– ANDREW CURTIS, Chief Executive Officer, Livestock SA