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Originally Posted: 12 November 2008
Kangaroos Heading for Extinction
After investigating the state government data pertaining to kangaroo densities across the Kangaroo Management Zones, it has been found that kangaroos are now 'quasi extinct' across most of NSW, South Australia and Queensland. 'Quasi extinction' refers to population densities of less than five kangaroos per square kilometre and has been defined by the Murray Darling Report as 'the nominal value of kangaroo densities taken to be the effective loss of the species.'
The Murray Darling Report is a document published by the Murray Darling Commission, written by government and independent scientists and titled 'Kangaroo Options in the Murray Darling Basin.' The report says, 'Strategies that produce average densities of less than five kangaroos per square kilometre would result in minimum densities of less than two kangaroos per square kilometre and could be considered a threat to species conservation.'
Further interpretation of state government data from New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia shows kangaroo densities that are now less than two kangaroos per square kilometre across more than 50% of these states. The Murray Darling Report states, 'Critical minimum densities of less than two kangaroos per square kilometre would generally be considered at risk of extinction.'
In regard to the future of the kangaroo industry, the Murray Darling Report said, 'Reduction of kangaroo densities to less than five per square kilometre over large areas would result in the demise of the kangaroo industry.'
Government statistics also show that the average weight of kangaroos killed in South Australia and Queensland is only 21 kilograms i.e. juveniles aged about two years, the males of whom are not even at reproductive age and females, most barely at breeding age. In South Australia 50% of kangaroos killed are females in half the state which by itself puts kangaroos at risk of extinction.
With one third of Australian native mammals having been driven to extinction since the first settlers arrived just over 200 years ago, we cannot afford to imperil the existence of kangaroos who are the world's second most recognised tourist symbol. An $85 billion tourist industry is not worth sacrificing for a $200 million kangaroo industry. Kangaroos are worth far more alive than dead. Blinded by short-term profits, certain industries could be responsible for the extinction of our kangaroos and in fact that is already starting to happen.
It is imperative that we implement a moratorium on commercial and non-commercial killing of kangaroos immediately for the sake of our country, our tourist industry, our economy, our environment, our reputation, and most importantly, our world-famous icon.
The calf photo on these pages is from Farm Sanctuary with our thanks.
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