Body Condition

Surprisingly little research has been done on the body condition of kangaroos. Investigation of condition is desirable in relation to population performance parameters such as age-specific fecundity and mortality, and size-for-age of juveniles, to enable better prediction of population dynamics. (Age-specific fecundity is the proportion of females of each year of age which produce a young.) The definitive measures of body condition in wild mammals are kidney fat index and percent marrow fat (Caughley and Sinclair 1994).

Another useful investigation would be to find measurements which can be taken on living kangaroos that correlate with the standard measurements. Visual estimates of condition are commonly stated by amateur experts but are rarely checked and can easily be wrong. When opportunities arise, measurement of kangaroo carcasses are carried out to relate population condition to demographic parameters such as fecundity, and to attempt to link the definitive measures to ones that can be taken reliably without killing the kangaroos.

The ACT Government has recently undertaken a study to assess the factors influencing mortality in sub-adult kangaroos. ACT Government researchers are also supporting research into assessments of body condition being undertaken by the University of Sydney.