The ACT government will seek to simplify restrictions on weapon silencers used by rangers who have the job of killing thousands of kangaroos across the territory.
According to an article in the Canberra Times, the move comes after a decision to kill nearly 2000 eastern grey kangaroos across 10 nature reserves in a bid to protect biodiversity and minimise impact on critical grassland and woodlands.
Gun silencers have been used by officials killing kangaroos for many years, although a recent review of the Firearms Act called for changes to be made in special circumstances, police say.
A Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) spokesman, whose directorate is responsible for overseeing the kangaroo cull, said the silencers were not a threat to the public and were necessary for the cull.
“The suppressors are being used to minimise noise disturbance, noting that many of the culling activities take place within close proximity of people’s homes,” he said.
The spokesman said silencers also allowed rangers to reduce “the risk of unwanted interference” while killing kangaroos.
Animal rights activist groups have routinely protested against the killings and are preparing to do so again this year, despite many being pursued in court.¬†
Christiaan Klootwijk, who blew a whistle near the site of an after-dark kangaroo cull, is serving a six-month good behaviour order after a court found him guilty in April of hindering the shooting operation.
The concerns sparked concerns that a person was on the boundary of the site and prompted a “check-fire”, which meant the shooter had to cease firing and unload his gun.
According to TAMS, “a suppressed firearm has less recoil, which promotes shooter accuracy and also protects the shooter from hearing and nerve damage”.
But Robyn Soxsmith, of the Animal Protectors Alliance, said silencers were routinely used but were only¬†necessary to keep the killings “out-of-mind” for those on the suburban fringe.
Ms Soxsmith said her group was already developing protest strategies and would not be dissuaded by attempts to prosecute those opposed to the culls.
Almost 4000 kangaroos have been killed over the past two years as part of the ACT’s annual cull.
Warning signs will be placed at all entry points to the reserves and surveillance cameras will be used to enhance public safety and detect illegal activity.
Those who enter the closed reserves without permission will also face fines.