Parma Wallabies

At AWS, one of our current missions is to assist the relocation Parma Wallabies from a privately sponsored captive breeding program at Mount Wilson, NSW. The owner of the property, Mr. Peter Pigott AM, has been looking after them in an effort to save the rare species which was threatened with extinction but is now listed as vulnerable. George Wilson helped with the establishment of the colony 50 years ago.  Their numbers have steadily increased as a result of conservation

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Kangaroo management podcast

A podcast featuting AWS and our campaign to improve kangaroo management has been prepared by Tom Melvile -Voice of Real Australia. It runs for 34 minutes and asks "Should we eat our national animal?" A covering article and the link are at https://www.canberratimes.com.au/story/7549219/
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National Kangaroo Strategy

Australia needs to overhaul how overabundant kangaroos are managed, rather than letting them starve or be culled as pests, according to an expert from The Australian National University (ANU). ANU Professor George Wilson argues better management is key to reducing environmental impacts, limiting food waste, improving human and animal welfare and creating more stable kangaroo populations. He says a stronger kangaroo industry could also bolster the national economy and provide jobs for regional and rural communities. Professor Wilson and other macropod experts from across Australia have penned a joint statement calling for a national overhaul of the strategies used to manage kangaroos and wallabies that are prone to overpopulation throughout much of Australia where their main predators are controlled. The statement has been endorsed by 25 ecological, conservation, animal welfare and Aboriginal agencies. While the researchers argue there are many benefits to improving kangaroo management, they acknowledge the culling and harvesting of these animals is a sensitive subject. "I am motivated by the welfare of individual animals and seeking the delicate balance of caring for the conservation of populations," Professor Wilson said. Professor Wilson and his co-authors are calling for a National Kangaroo Taskforce that would see the Federal Government and the states and territories, private landowners, agriculture and conservation bodies and Indigenous communities join forces to drive kangaroo management reform. Professor Wilson says there are about 40 million kangaroos on private land but only a small proportion of them are being utilised effectively, opening doors for private landowners to become involved in the kangaroo industry. "Currently, hundreds of thousands of kangaroos are culled on private land as a form of pest control in order to protect environmental and agricultural production, but an increasing number of carcasses are left in the paddock to rot, which is a huge waste," Professor Wilson said. "We want to see private landowners bring in professional shooters to ensure roos are put down humanely. "Another benefit of employing professionals is they take the carcass back to a chiller where shooter accuracy can be checked and the meat and skins harvested instead of going to waste." Professor Wilson is appealing with landowners to view the country's national icon through a new lens and see the animals as assets rather than pests. He proposes increasing the value of kangaroo meat to match sheep and cattle prices. This could in turn provide financial incentives for landholders and offer employment for Indigenous communities. "If the price of kangaroo rises from about $20 a carcass to around $70-$80 or more, then a portion of the money can be fed back to the landowner," Professor Wilson said. "Currently landowners don't benefit from the culling of these roos on their properties. The shooters come to the property and take the kangaroos and the graziers just view this as pest removal. "Indigenous communities now own significant areas of pastoral land, as they once did, and we hope they too can become involved with this initiative, particularly in South Australia where properties are flooded with kangaroos. "They have used kangaroo for millennia and the opportunity exists for them to be employed as professional kangaroo shooters in a sustainable harvest." Professor Wilson says there are many other benefits to strengthening the country's kangaroo industry. "Not only is kangaroo a quality product and a high-protein meat, with low fat and cholesterol, the animals also produce fewer methane emissions compared to sheep and cattle," he said. "Because the animals don't produce as much methane, instead of the graziers seeking to bolster their sheep and cattle numbers after periods of drought, which they are doing, it would make sense for them to be involved in low-emission meat from the kangaroos on their properties and potentially earn carbon credits which can be traded as part of meeting Australia's climate change objectives. "Kangaroo leather also has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any leather and it makes very good running shoes, soccer boots and similar products. So, there are plenty of opportunities to better utilise kangaroos for commercial use considering how many currently aren't being utilised effectively." The researchers say maintaining stable numbers of kangaroos and preventing the subsequent "crashing" of populations is a key priority in order to prevent millions of inhumane deaths during droughts. According to Professor Wilson, it is estimated about six million kangaroos and wallabies died of starvation during the last drought in Australia. "It's not only extremely distressing for the kangaroos that get bogged in limited water supplies during droughts, but it also has a huge mental health toll for the graziers who have to deal with these starving kangaroos that are on the brink of death," he said. Professor Wilson has outlined his objectives in greater detail in a special edition of Ecological Management and Restoration.
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US Kangaroo Protection Bill

John Read and George Wilson have had published a piece in The Conversation about the US Kangaroo Protection Bill.
It argues that weakening the kangaroo industry will result in more kangaroo suffering, not less. If the Bill succeeds, it would further suppress global demand for kangaroo products, and allow unregulated, uncontrolled and unmonitored killing by amateur hunters to flourish.

We welcome the Australian government’s opposition to the bill. Regardless of whether the bill succeeds, a broader question remains: what should Australia’s

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NSW inquiry into the health and wellbeing of kangaroos 2021

A stronger kangaroo industry leads to better welfare outcomes.

George Wilson
Honorary Professor, Australian National University

The terms of the current inquiry refers to the health and welfare of pouch young and joeys. They express concern about mortality rates and accuracy of records, suggesting that the kangaroo industry is deficient.

My submission is that a stronger kangaroo industry with landholder engagement will reduce the suffering of pouch young. The alternative is a further decline in the industry, kangaroos

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Reducing wastage from ACT kangaroo control

AWS has been has commissioned to prepare a discussion paper on options for reducing the waste of kangaroos taken under the ACT’s kangaroo management program which has two parts:

  1. Conservation culling of kangaroos on public lands and
  2. Damage mitigation culling on rural lands in the ACT.

Some people regard any consumptive use of kangaroos as unethical and distasteful; they may also oppose it on cultural grounds. While considering these perspectives, we are mindful that sound evidence-based policy

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Border wars

QUARANTINE ZONES ARE SPLITTING COMMUNITIES NEEDLESSLY.

Biosecurity responsibilities and quarantine hotels

Quarantine boundaries, such as those imposed for Covid-19, should be based on communities of interest and economic cohesion rather than State borders.  The Commonwealth should accept the responsibility for quarantine which the Constitution says it has and then work with the states to implement emergency response powers and so avoid current border wars.

Across the nation there are too many chiefs, resulting in mixed health protection messages and

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National Kangaroo Statement

Improving kangaroo management, reducing waste and better welfare

The National Statement on Kangaroo Management arose from symposia in 2019 at the Australian Rangeland Society
and the Ecological Society of Australia Conferences. The context and supporting references for this statement are presented in a special edition of Ecological Management & Restoration. A copy can be downloaded at the link National Kangaroo Statement . Page one Page two The authors seek its endorsement and support.

The NSW Kangaroo

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Can Damaged Animals Find New Homes on Private Lands?

The Federal Government has announced $50m funding for an Emergency Wildlife and Habitat Recovery Package in response to fires. Conservation-based zoos are expected to play a major role in the recovery challenge with in-house specialist veterinary and husbandry expertise, and critical care facilities such as those at the Taronga Wildlife Hospital.

In some parts of the world, price incentives, proprietorship and devolved responsibility for management, accompanied by effective regulation, have increased wildlife and protected habitats, particularly for iconic and valuable

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