A New South Wales parliamentary inquiry will investigate the health and wellbeing of kangaroos and other macropods amid concerns populations of the native animals are declining.

Key points:

  • Red and grey kangaroo and wallaroo populations in NSW dropped from 17 million in 2016 to about 10.5 million last year
  • The inquiry will investigate rules for commercial and non-commercial harvesting of kangaroos
  • The independent chair of the state’s Kangaroo Management Taskforce has welcomed inquiry

The state’s kangaroo population dropped by nearly 40 per cent in five years, according to annual survey data from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).

The DPIE found numbers of red and grey kangaroos and wallaroos in New South Wales peaked at 17 million in 2016 and fell to about 10.5 million last year.

Chair of the inquiry and Greens MP Cate Faehrmann said drought and bushfires had depleted the numbers of kangaroos and wallabies.

“We’ve seen increased global concern over this,” she said.

Inquiry to investigate harvesting

Kangaroos can be a pest to landholders, and national codes of practice govern the harvesting of kangaroos for both commercial and non-commercial purposes.

Ms Faehrmann said the rules around killing kangaroos under these codes would be examined by the inquiry.

“This will also look at the ways in which kangaroos are culled in terms of what I think has been accused of potentially inhumane practices,” she said.

The independent chair of the state’s Kangaroo Management Taskforce, Geoff Wise, said he welcomed the upper house inquiry.

The taskforce formed in 2016 and is comprised of stakeholders including Indigenous groups, animal welfare organisations including the RSPCA, and commercial shooters.

“One of the biggest problems they identified [in 2016] was the anticipation that millions of kangaroos would die from starvation and thirst and roadkill as soon as the next dry time came along,” Mr Wise said.

“That’s exactly what happened.”

A kangaroo hops through the inside of a country style pub

The NSW upper house inquiry will look at codes of practice for commercial and non-commercial kangaroo harvesting(

ABC News: Hugh Sando

)

Mr Wise said the taskforce “strongly supported” the existing rules in place for “responsible death of kangaroos by shooting”.

“When you look at all the means by which kangaroos die, death by licensed commercial shooters [is] the least harmful cause of death compared to any other forms of death of kangaroos,” he said.

“There’s as many kangaroos in the western 40 per cent of the state as there are people in Sydney, so it’s not as though the kangaroos are in any way extinct in that regard.

“But the welfare consideration for those numbers are of major concern.”

Submissions to the inquiry are due by April 26 and can be lodged online.

Kangaroo wellbeing to be subject of NSW upper house inquiry
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