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Australia should do everything in its power to avoid culling hundreds of kangaroos in Canberra, Greens leader Bob Brown says.
Defence Department contractors are preparing to cull about 400 kangaroos on a former naval site at Belconnen, in Canberra's north.
A report to the ACT government released last week recommended the cull go ahead without delay to protect lowland native grasslands and threatened species.
The plan has drawn international condemnation by animal activists including British group Viva! which has the support of celebrity rock stars Sir Paul McCartney and Chrissie Hynde.
Expert advice to the ACT government said relocating the animals would be inhumane, but Senator Brown said on Thursday he did not think that option had been properly explored.
"In the report given to ACT government, it's dismissed in one paragraph, but the reasoning behind that dismissal is not there," Senator Brown told ABC Radio on Thursday.
He is advocating a pilot program to relocate some of the animals to see if it is feasible.
"Australia is coming into the spotlight over this, it's very rapidly becoming an international cause celebre.
"We ought to be able to demonstrate to the world that we have done everything possible to obviate the need for killing 400 to 500 kangaroos."
Senator Brown said a cull should go ahead only if a pilot program was unsuccessful.
"If it's found that can't be done without a great deal of cruelty then we're left with no option," he said.
But ACT Liberal senator Gary Humphries said Senator Brown was engaging in populist politics and scientists agreed a cull was necessary.
"They said translocation on this scale has not been tried before in Australia and it would not work," Senator Humphries told the ABC.
He said a trial relocation program would be expensive and would take several months.
"And, of course, while that trial is going on, the kangaroos will continue to overgraze that area which is the habitat of a number of endangered species."
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