Conservation

KANGAROO POPULATIONS:

Kangaroos are a unique species well adapted to Australia’s extreme fluctuations in climatic conditions. An interpretation of population trends since the 1970s show that populations increase following years of above average rainfall and declined following drought, but then recovered to predrought levels quickly.

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While state kangaroo populations have fluctuated markedly over the decades the net result has been a national population that has been relatively stable.

Information on kangaroo population and numbers, quotas and commercial harvesting of kangaroos - nationally and for individual Australian states - can be found at Australian Government Dept. of Environment and Heritage web site.
 

KANGAROO FARMING

Intensive Kangaroo farming is not a commercial proposition primarily because handling and husbandry
difficulties coupled with low reproduction and slow growth rates in captivity make the cost of production
greater than the market value of the meat and hides. Rangeland farming would also be a high cost enterprise
because of the amount and type of fencing needed to counter the mobility of kangaroos and because kangaroo behaviour makes mustering unworkable.

Of the 48 species of macropods (kangaroos) in Australia only 4 species can be commercially harvested. Red Kangaroo - Macropus rufus Red Kangaroos are considered abundant over much of inland Australia in areas receiving less than 500 mm mean annual rainfall. "In geographic terms, Red Kangaroos occur across the continent west of the Great Dividing Range, but excluding Cape York, Arnhemland, the Kimberley region, the south-west corner and Tasmania. This distribution coincides generally with mulga and mallee scrub, shrubland, woodland, grassland and desert. M. rufus appears to prefer open plains with scattered trees ". (Russell,1974, Strahan 1983).

Eastern Grey Kangaroo - Macropus giganteus

Eastern Grey Kangaroos generally inhabit areas of higher rainfall between the inland plains and the coast. They have an almost continuous distribution down the eastern seaboard where annual rainfall exceeds 250 mm. This distribution includes all of Queensland (except western Cape York), New South Wales, Victoria and northeastern Tasmania. Their range is grasslands with tree cover to open woodlands. Their habitat includes the most densely populated and farmed areas in eastern Australia. When abundant they are regarded as pests.

Western Grey Kangaroo - Macropus fuliginosus

Western Grey Kangaroos occur widely through the southern agricultural areas of Australia, particularly the wheat
belts of New South Wales and Western Australia. They live in open forest and woodlands, semi-arid mallee scrub and heath with tree cover nearby. "The Western Grey Kangaroo actually occurs across the south of the continent with a distribution extending northwards through western New South Wales and into a small area of southern central Queensland. It is absent from Tasmania". The range of the Western Grey Kangaroo tends to retract southwards during periods of drought and extends northward in seasons of above average rainfall. The Western Grey Kangaroo is a grazing herbivore with a feeding preference for grasses. It has been "advantaged by pastoralism, but disadvantaged by intensive agriculture " (Short and Grigg 1982).

Euros - Macropus robustus erubescens

Euros are "chunky medium-sized kangaroos with relatively large and expressive ears. Mature males grow to 50 kilos while mature females average 25 kilos body weight. Both sexes have a stocky shape with very solid shoulders and forearms and short limbs, especially hind legs.

 


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