Eastern Grey Kangaroo: Controlled Native Species Management Plan
The Conservator for Flora and Fauna has prepared a controlled native species management plan for the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. The plan looks at kangaroo welfare, managing interactions between humans and kangaroos, managing kangaroo densities and managing captive populations. Community consultation on the draft closed on 24 March 2017. The plan was released in May 2017.
Our lowland grasslands and woodlands no longer contain the large predators that were present historically. In the absence of these predators, kangaroo populations can get out of balance with their environment. Heavy grazing by kangaroos endangers other animal and plant species in these areas, including some endangered species and can lead to starvation among the kangaroo populations in times of drought. Heavy grazing can also impact on rural land.
Because of these impacts, the ACT Government has declared the kangaroo a ‘controlled native species’ under the Nature Conservation Act 2014. This declaration paved the way for the Conservator for Flora and Fauna to prepare a ‘Controlled Native Species Management Plan’.
About the plan
The management plan updates the 2010 Kangaroo Management Plan with recent research, legislation and the latest codes of practice.
It describes the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, its habitat, its role in the ACT and its environmental, economic and social impacts. It outlines how the environmental, economic and social impacts of kangaroos in grassy ecosystems in nature reserves and will be managed on different types of land.
The plan considers the conditions under which various plants and animals in the grasslands evolved, but which are no longer present; in particular, dingo/wild dog and Aboriginal predation of native herbivores, the fire regime and small-scale soil disturbance by animals such as bandicoots and bettongs. Ongoing management is required to substitute for these elements and processes.
The 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
- manage and minimise the environmental, economic and social impacts of those kangaroo populations on other plants and animals, grassy ecosystems and primary production.
The plan is based on the following principles and on evidence-based management:
- Kangaroos are valued as an integral component of grassy ecosystems.
- Kangaroo management is based on the best available knowledge of kangaroo biology and ecology.
- The conservation of native grassy ecosystems and their constituent flora and fauna species is a legislative requirement and a high priority for the government.
- The economic and social impacts of kangaroo populations are taken into consideration in authorising management actions, particularly in relation to free-ranging kangaroo populations on rural lands and along roadsides.
- Kangaroo welfare is a primary consideration in all kangaroo management and all kangaroos are to be treated humanely.
- Human welfare and the conservation of other grassy ecosystem species are key considerations in all kangaroo management.
- Intervention to manage kangaroo impacts is necessary in some instances and may involve culling.
- Population control policies and actions are based on scientific knowledge supported by ongoing research, appropriate regulation and monitoring, and codes of practice.
The plan’s policies are grouped around:
- kangaroo welfare
- managing interactions between humans and kangaroos
- managing kangaroo densities, including culling, fertility control and environmental modification
- managing captive populations
Page 8 of the plan refers to two notifiable instruments that detail how the number of kangaroos to be culled is calculated. These instruments are published on the ACT Legislation Register:
- Nature Conservation (Eastern Grey Kangaroo) Conservation Culling Calculator
- Nature Conservation (Eastern Grey Kangaroo) Rural Culling Calculator
Page 44 of the plan summarises the numbers of kangaroos culled for conservation purposes in Canberra Nature Park 2009-2016.
The main changes to the final plan based on the submissions received during the consultation period include:
- Text and a policy about the selected use of fencing to protect environmental values or stop the movement of kangaroos into particular land have been added.
- Information from a study on the welfare aspects of kangaroo shooting undertaken in ACT nature reserves (Hampton & Forsyth 2016) has been included to address concerns about the welfare of culling and compliance with the code of practice.
- Text stating that rural and conservation culling is audited has been added.
- The wording in the purpose of the plan has been revised to acknowledge that factors other than kangaroos also influence grassy ecosystems.