Category: Recent Activities

The Failure of Kangaroo Harvesting Fails Animal Welfare

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By , January 17, 2018 11:11 am

Kangaroo harvesting is not a commercial option for landholders,
resulting in greater animal rights issues for the kangaroos that are culled on private land

In an article in Australasian Science, George Wilson argues that because animal rights campaigners are achieving their aim of reducing the demand for kangaroo products, there is an increase in animal suffering. Populations rise higher than the environment can support, and then crash. 

In recent years a lack of demand has meant that less than half the annual kangaroo quota for commercial use has been taken. Therefore, many graziers have sought other means to lower numbers of valueless kangaroos so that more income earning stock can be carried. Unregulated inhumane control mechanisms ensue.

National Geographic – drafting story on kangaroos

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By , September 16, 2017 4:11 pm

A National Geographic journalist from Washington who is writing a story on kangaroos was flown by George Wilson on a trip through outback New South Wales and Queensland. They visited properties near White Cliffs, Quilpie and Coonamble and a professional kangaroo shooter. They heard of concerns of landholders who are having difficulties adjusting their total grazing pressure to deteriorating seasonal conditions and pasture shortages. Reduced demand for kangaroo products from the commercial harvesting industry is leading to alternative kangaroo control measures which have very low animal welfare attributes.

Food unwrapped – UK Channel 4 – kangaroo meat

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By , July 25, 2017 12:59 pm

On UK Channel 4 program ‘Food Unwrapped’, George Wilson presented perspectives on kangaroo meat and its attributes, plus the complexities of kangaroo management. The program featured kangaroos on the Federal Golf Course, interviews with local graziers and a scene at Bondi Beach of a barbeque featuring kangaroo meat.  Channel 4 is a publicly-owned and commercially-funded UK Public Service Broadcaster, with a statutory remit to deliver high-quality, innovative, alternative content that challenges the status quo. The video is at the link.

European Wildlife Bank

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By , July 20, 2017 5:16 pm

The European Wildlife Bank (EWB) is a commercial and legal framework that could be a model for enabling finance and investment in conservation of threatened species.
George Wilson met EWB in Amsterdam recently and learnt more about EWB. It is supported by the European Commission and other partners, especially the Dutch Postcode Lottery. It facilitates reintroduction of original native herbivores to rewilding areas. It keeps control over its reintroduction herds by making contracts with third parties, mostly local land managers/land owners. At the expiry of the contract, a proportion of the animals reintroduced are returned to the Bank to found new populations elsewhere or supplement existing populations at the same site. Species such as wild horses, European bison, chamois and ibex have been used in this way. It is early days but the intention is for surplus animals to be available on the market and for investors to receive returns based on the animal’s reproductive rate. The EWB could be regarded as a wildlife version of the rebranded NSW Biodiversity Conservation Trust.

Maranoa Kangaroo Cooperative – financial support

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By , June 16, 2017 5:00 pm

Financial support for the Maranoa Kangaroo Growers and Harvesters Cooperative, one of George Wilson’s projects, has been announced by the Minister. Funding from the Farming Together program will enable regional cooperative kangaroo management to enhance the sustainability of grazing systems. It will enable employment of staff, identification of procedures for value-adding product, and verification of the contribution the project makes to biodiversity and carbon improvement. By improving the accuracy of description, quality and value of kangaroo products in central Qld, the Cooperative aims to enable the kangaroo industry to grow to be what it should be – a grass fed protein producer of low emission meat complementing the livestock industries and contributing to rural incomes.

Vulnerable animals and private land

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By , May 31, 2017 8:45 am

On 28 May 2017, ABC Radio National broadcast a segment by George Wilson on its Occam’s Razor segment.  The program presents ideas that adhere to the notion  that if there are several possible solutions to a problem, the simplest alternative is probably the truth. George’s outlined a way to address the rate at which vulnerable animals are disappearing from the landscape. His talk proposed trials in which market forces could have a role to play in conservation. If private landholders could take up wildlife property rights and responsibilities, would that make up for shortfalls in government funding?

Link to ABC RN sound and transcript.

The following diagrams depict before and after the adoption of the proposed changes.

The location of Conservation Letters are at paper and supplementary information.

Why do we do scientific research ? What’s working and what needs work?

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By , May 10, 2017 10:44 am

ANU Vice Chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt, a Nobel Prize winning astronomer and physicist, addresses a number of key issues confronting Australian scientists and researchers in an excellent broadcast on ABC Radio National.

To what extent should science be directed and the outcomes tailored to meet the commercial needs of industry and business or are there better returns to be made from basic science where sometimes the greatest advances have been serendipitous? What should science be doing to better inform the development of public policy?

Food carbon footprint league table

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By , January 2, 2017 2:36 pm

Kangaroo does best of the red meats. On average, 244g of kangaroo meat is produced for every 1kg of greenhouse gas emissions, far more than the lowly 44 g of beef meat produced for every kg of pollution by cattle. The comparison comes from a RMIT dataset prepared for consumers and catering organisations to estimate the impact of their ingredients and menus. The authors have produced a list that illustrates how much – or how little – it takes for different foods to contribute a kilogram of greenhouse gas emissions. The paper provides 1718 global warming potential values for 168 varieties of fresh produce including vegetables, fruit, dairy products, staples, meat, chicken and fish.

Red Kangaroo die off

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By , December 16, 2016 12:49 pm

Hundreds of red kangaroos have been found dead in far western NSW Qld and SA. Despite good feed and plenty of water around, something, as yet undetected, is killing kangaroos and making the survivors very weak. The epidemic started late in September and is continuing in pockets.
Retired Veterinary Officer Greg Curran in Broken Hill said “It was predictable. Similar outbreaks occurred in the 1998 and in 2010 after floods and good seasons.” He was receiving reports from people seeing five to ten bodies and some people seeing 40-50 dead animals.
Biting insects have been implicated in the event but it is not clear whether its physical impact or a combination with disease.

Previous epidemics have been associated midge plagues and viruses that caused blindness.
AWS believes it is most regrettable that a coordinated response to collect specimens from recently dead and dying animals has not been implemented. Responsibility is not clearly allocated to either national authorities, State environment or agriculture departments, or the kangaroo industry. An interview George Wilson gave ABC Radio in Broken Hill can heard here,

The outbreak is occurring in the Australian national emblem yet the response has been parsimonious. Sightings should be reported to Wildlife Health Australia.

Chinese forestry experts learn of Australian wildlife management

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By , December 9, 2016 1:59 pm


George Wilson provided lectures to a delegation of 18 forestry managers visiting Australia from the State Forestry Administration of PR China. Lectures covered an overview of wildlife protection legislative and operational activities, roles of Commonwealth and State law, kangaroo management including commercial use, threatened species management, Indigenous wildlife land management – needs and opportunities including carbon farming, tourism and bush tucker. “