Culling kangaroos in Canberra alwaysgets the Greenies in a twist. The latestannouncement of a 1000 tag increase has sure thrown the catamongst the pigeons.
TheACT Government stated preliminary results of a contraceptive vaccine targeting female kangaroos was promising. The “promising” results have come at a cost of over $500,000 tax payer dollars.
At the very least they are taking a realisticapproach to control the numbers by the most cost effective method available – shooting.
The ABC reported that for the past three years ecologists have been injecting female kangaroos with a contraceptive vaccine.
The trial also compared the effectiveness of using the dart versus hand-injecting the vaccine.
Thirty-three kangaroos died during the trial – two as a result of darting injuries and one from overheating after recovering from anaesthesia. Nineteen of those died after a car crash and one had to be euthanised after it was fished out of Lake Burley Griffin.
Senior ecologist Claire Wimpenny said the preliminary results were promising.
“In the first year after treatment with hand injected GonaCon only 13 per cent of those animals bred. In the second year after treatment none of the animals have bred,” he said.
“For the dart delivery we’ve only got one year of data so far and in the first year after treatment with dart delivered GonaCon 21 per cent of the animals bred.”
The trial has targeted 142 animals. Ms Wimpenny said dart delivery was preferred because it was more efficient and cost effective.
“You’re handling the animals less, so there’s no anaesthetic involved,” she said.
“There’s no need for a long process of caring for that animal for the three or four hours while it’s anaesthetised and waking up.”
However, the vaccine will not replace the cull program.
“We don’t see it as something that will completely replace culling, because fertility control is slowing the population growth, so it’s not going to reduce it if there’s too many at that time,” Ms Wimpenny said.
“You would get your population down to the desired level, do fertility control and that may mean that you have to cull less often or less animals and that would be ideal.”
Ms Wimpenny said it would continue to monitor the treated animals for a number of years.
“We don’t yet know how long the vaccine will work when it’s dart delivered so we need to know how long it’s going to be effective for us to be able to fully assess it,” she said.
Animal Libbers have their say:
In true animal libber style they appose both the culling and contraceptive method of control, however contribute zero to an alternate control method.
The ACT’s kangaroo culling program has been operating for 10 years, but Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said eastern grey kangaroos should be left alone.
“We’ve never agreed the ACT Government should be culling kangaroos,” she said.
Ms Drew said she was not supportive of the contraceptive vaccine trial either.
‘”It’s totally immoral to intervene in such a way on an animal,” she said.
Cull target 1,000 more than 2017
Parks and Conservation Service director Daniel Iglesias said a target of up to 3,253 eastern grey kangaroos had been set for this year’s culling program across the ACT and Googong.
‘We’re moving to areas which we have culled before so there’s high populations,” he said.
“What we’re finding now is in areas where we consistently cull every year we’re having to cull very little animals or not having to cull at all because we’ve arrived at a sustainable number.”
Areas which will be targeted include Aranda Bushland Nature Reserve, West Majura Grasslands and Googong Foreshores.