The management of kangaroo populations, the condition of the dog fence and drought were key issues raised at the Livestock SA Northern Region meeting, held in conjunction with the Pastoral Board of SA, last month.
Kangaroo numbers have increased significantly in recent years, up from an estimated 2.5 million in 2011 to about 4.5 million in last year’s count.
Dry conditions in northern areas of the state has also meant a shift in populations as kangaroos venture further south in search of feed.
The rise in populations has had a significant impact on producers and the environment, with increased kangaroo numbers placing significant grazing pressure on properties.
Many of these areas already have limited feed, due to ongoing dry conditions.
Kangaroos are eating significant amounts of pasture that sheep and cattle would otherwise consume, they also cause damage to infrastructure such as fences and have an impact on water resources.
There is also good evidence from the insurance industry that growing kangaroo numbers are a road safety issue, with a rise in single car collisions. In 2017-18 SA motorists lodged more than 1700 animal collision claims, double the amount of the previous financial year. About 60 per cent of these collisions were attributed to kangaroos.
The rise in kangaroo numbers has not been an overnight occurrence.
We share the frustrations which were raised at the recent Olary Northern Region meeting and the roundtable meeting which was held at Yunta 12-months-ago on this issue.
The State Government has acknowledged this rise in kangaroo numbers but to-date nothing has changed.
Currently there are only certain areas within the state which are open for commercial harvesting, but we believe these areas need to be increased, to ensure harvesting can occur in all areas where kangaroo populations have increased significantly.
We want to see a review of the conditions for kangaroo harvesting, to reduce the cost barrier for harvesters, to ensure there is more of an incentive for them to continue to undertake control methods.
We would also like to further identify ways in which the commercial harvest of kangaroos and culls can happen in conjunction in the same area.
We also believe there also needs to be further recognition of the value of kangaroo products, meat, kangaroo skin and leather.
Finally, finding the time to download, fill out and apply to get a destruction permit for kangaroos can be a challenge for some producers.
We are looking forward to working together with the State Government on improved permits for the control of kangaroos, so it benefits not only producers but also the environment.
– ANDREW CURTIS, Chief Executive Officer, Livestock SA