On the first World Kangaroo Day wildlife advocates are pushing for a NSW ban on commercial hunting of the animals which many farmers view as a pest.
Former Australian cricketer Jason Gillespie backs a ban, saying kangaroos need protection, especially after the ‘Black Summer’ bushfires which are estimated to have killed or displaced three billion wild animals.
“This summer the world watched in horror as our beautiful country burnt, with an outpouring of love for all our precious wildlife, including the kangaroo,” he said in a statement on Oct 24.
“How can we continue to allow the commercial hunting of the kangaroo, with the true impact of this catastrophe still unknown?”
He is joining forces with the NSW Animal Justice Party (AJP) to call for a moratorium on the commercial hunting of the species, and a statewide assessment on the impact of the fires on their population.
They say Australians want the same thing.
A survey conducted by AJP of over 1000 NSW residents found three in four believed the state government should do a population count and a scientific assessment of the impact of the fires.
Only 15 percent of those surveyed agreed the hunting of kangaroos should continue, with 55 percent saying the government should ban it until the impact had been assessed.
But kangaroos have long been touted as a pest for farmers, who say they decimate crops, compete with livestock for pasture, knock down fences and cause havoc on the road.
According to the NSW government’s 2019 estimates, more than 14 million kangaroos and wallaroos roam the state.
Current quotas allow just over two million – or 15.2 percent – of them to be hunted and killed in 2020.
But AJP NSW Upper House MLC Mark Pearson said the belief that kangaroos existed in plague proportions and therefore should be ‘culled’ was baseless.
“I invite those who hold onto that claim as an excuse to kill: show me,” he said in a statement.
“Take me to the places where kangaroos apparently exist in plague proportions, because I’ve not seen it – not before these bushfires, let alone since.”
Tiffanie Turnbull in Sydney