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.