Mood: don't ask
The Big Media are as the tag implies going big on a protest against kangaroo culling in Canberra. We lived there 1983 - 1990 including lots of bushwalking in the relevant area. It's mostly a set up drawing the animal protection lobby into action and anxiety and then dumping on them as per this set of articles:
20 May 08 p1 picture story 'Little joey stuck in middle of slaughter'
We don't want to say much about the heartfelt protests of animals rights and/or welfare people in Canberra. It's their argument for their local politics to resolve. Even if it is federal owned land run by a national organisation.
Why is it only a local issue you say? Because some 3 to 5 million kangaroos are 'culled' every year by the kangaroo pet food and skins industry, variable depending on drought conditions. Endorsed by every govt of both major parties state and federal. In other words the biggest wildlife slaughter on the planet is hardly affected either way by what happens in Canberra's suburban bush:
The 2005 Commercial Kangaroo harvest quota
In December 2004, the Australian Minister for Environment and Heritage, Senator Ian Campbell, approved commercial kangaroo harvesting quotas for 2005 totalling around 3.9 million. This is a decrease of 0.5 million animals from the quota approved in 2004. This decrease in quota is related to the drop in kangaroo populations associated with widespread drought in eastern Australia over recent years.
The 2005 quota represents about 16 per cent (between 14 per cent and 20 per cent) of estimated populations of the four kangaroo species that are commercially harvested. The scientific community and State management agencies consider that annual harvest levels in the order of 15 per cent of the populations for Grey kangaroos and Wallaroos, and 20 per cent of Red kangaroo populations are sustainable.
Eastern Australia has undergone severe drought in recent years and, because the primary driver of kangaroo populations is rainfall, kangaroo numbers in eastern Australia have declined as a result. Populations of some species in NSW and QLD have declined by nearly 30% per cent between the 2003 and 2004 surveys, Populations of other species in NSW and QLD and all species in South Australia have increased (between 1% and 33%). In Western Australia populations of Red kangaroos have declined slightly, while Western Grey kangaroos have increased.
We have written about this before with some very serious concerns about health in a less controlled wild compared to agri meat production system, and also genetic impact on targeting of alpha males. We understand for instance that the legendary Big Red Kangaroo is practically non existent, with critters barely a few years old ever surviving until the inevitable bullet:
Friday, 18 May 2007 The tricky kangaroo meat debate - next course
Topic: healthMonday, 14 May 2007
This level and pattern of shooting has got to be bad for the genetic health of species until the inevitable climate, disease or other impact threatens a whole population. That's our evolutionary ecology degree coming through.
And here is another ecological aspect. If there is a local overpopulation problem from the kangaroos say from artificial water sources and lack of natural predators then a solution which might set a few people back on their heels is ... reintroduce natural predators. There are some major public safety implications of wild dingos in Canberra, but as this ABC documentary makes very clear with fascinating insight
Strange Days On Planet Earth - Predators, 8:35pm Tuesday, 15 Jan 2008
with wolves and deer in Yellowstone National Park, general ecological health depends on the presence of top order predators. Nature is full of pain and death like that. All power to the vegetarians amongst us reducing greenhous impacts in their diet, but it remains the case nature is not vegetarian.