A new plan of management for the Eastern Grey Kangaroo released for public comment today looks at kangaroo welfare, managing interactions between humans and kangaroos, managing kangaroo densities and managing captive populations.
“Kangaroos are an important part of our natural environment,” the Conservator for Flora and Fauna, Dr Annie Lane said.
“However, heavy grazing by large populations of kangaroos can have a significant impact on native grasslands and woodlands and farmers. In particular, heavy grazing impacts on other native species that live in these ecosystems, some of which are endangered, and on the kangaroos themselves in times of drought.
“Because the kangaroos are no longer kept in check by predators, such as dingoes and human hunting, we need to manage the kangaroo population,” Dr Lane said.
When a species has, or is likely to have, an unacceptable impact on an environmental, social or economic asset, it can be declared a controlled native species. In recognition of the importance of a balanced ecosystem, the Minister for the Environment and Heritage has declared the Eastern Grey Kangaroo a ‘controlled native species’ under the Nature Conservation Act 2014.
“This has paved the way for the Eastern Grey Kangaroo: Draft Controlled Native Species Management Plan, currently available for public comment,” Dr Lane said.
“The management approach is similar to the 2010 Kangaroo Management Plan, which has been guiding kangaroo management decisions in the ACT for many years, but focuses only on the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The plan documents recent research and includes updates on current codes of practice. Unlike the current plan, this plan will be a statutory document,” Dr Lane said.
The draft management plan aims to:
- maintain populations of kangaroos as a significant part of the fauna of the ‘bush capital’ and a component of the grassy ecosystems of the Territory and
- manage and minimise the environmental, economic and social impacts of those kangaroo populations on other plants and animals, grassy ecosystems and primary production.
The policies cover kangaroo welfare, managing kangaroo densities and managing interactions between humans and kangaroos.
“The draft plan sets out the background research and the policy, social and environmental context for maintaining kangaroo populations at the levels required to achieve conservation objectives in nature reserves and maintain economic viability of rural leases,” Dr Lane said.
“Kangaroo management in the ACT is based on sound science. We use best-practice methods to count kangaroos and determine the sustainable levels of kangaroos on each reserve within the ACT. The plan is informed by international, national and local research, including recent local scientific studies showing the impact of kangaroos on the environment.
“The plan supports the continuation of the ACT Government’s involvement in leading research into kangaroo fertility control, which is producing promising results to date as a possible means to help control the species in certain locations,” Dr Lane said.
Under the draft plan, the Conservator for Flora and Fauna will authorise the number of kangaroos to be culled in nature reserves. The decision on whether a cull is to be taken is based on ecological assessments and kangaroo counts in the reserves. There will no longer be the need for ACT Parks and Conservation to apply for a licence. Rural landholders will still need to apply for a licence in the same way as they do now.
The Eastern Grey Kangaroos: Draft Controlled Native Species Management Plan is available for public comment until 24 March 2017 at www.environment.act.gov.au