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2024: Summary - Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos Australia

Life on land

“We followed Gerald Durrell’s trail in the early 1970s, coming to know Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand very well indeed and enduringly so. What we have come to understand is that very little has changed since 1965. For Kangaroos it is worse than ever.” Peter Hylands

Peter and Andrea Hylands

December 30, 2023
“The picture of conservation that I found in New Zealand, Australia and Malaya was distressingly familiar, small bands of dedicated, underpaid and overworked individuals are fighting a battle against public apathy and political and big business chicanery. By and large, people are only apathetic because they do not realise what is going on, but the most dangerous part of the problem is political apathy because it is only at the top level that you can get things done. Most politicians would not risk their careers for the sake of conservation because firstly they do not think it is important and secondly, they treat all conservationists with disregard that they would display to an elderly spinster’s ravings about her pet peke”. Gerald Durrell, 1965

The five states have reported their commercial Kangaroo quotas and associated population estimates for 2024. For Western Australia, like Victoria, the Commonwealth Government needs to approve a new plan for the exploitation and export of wildlife from Western Australia.

Here are some top line comments. Note population estimates are for commercially exploited species, these species may differ from state to state. Quotas are for commercial only and do not include mitigation permits.

Population and quota data summarised

All population estimates so far appear to be hyper-inflated and actual take against quota in 2022 and 2023 is very low. Our analysis for 2024 indicates an actual take against quota for all Australia will be 19.5 per cent. As a general comment, Queensland up, NSW down, population estimates look very similar when 2023 and 2024 are compared.


  • Population estimate 2,363,850 (desktop evaluation, no survey), same as previous year.
  • 2024 Quota 155,650 down from 166,750 in 2023.

Note: Worst feature of their conduct is the move into public lands which the commercial industry has been trying to achieve in other states for a long time. Rezoning of the shooting zones fudges comparisons with previous years and disguises regions where Kangaroo populations have been near exterminated. Victoria needs to reinstate its LGA population tables in its quota and ‘harvest’ reports.

New South Wales:

  • Population estimate 9,634,900 down from 11,882,215 in the previous year.
  • 2024 Quota 1,484,072 down from 1,850,228 in 2023.

Note: The population estimates show some ludicrous increases and declines in regional populations which cannot be explained. Following our own survey of the Broken Hill and Lower Darling shooting zones one year ago and where government claimed 3 million Kangaroos, we found just one living Kangaroo (there was no evidence of large numbers of dead Kangaroos, we found one dead Kangaroo by the river and that had been shot). So now we have more than 1.4 million reduction in the population estimate, apparently due to rain. We were in those zones during the flooding. And yet again, the Tibooburra shooting zone is another stand out with a significant increase in population including an increase in the Grey Kangaroo population of 936 per cent between 2022 and 2023 (10 per cent would be the maximum possible). 


  • Population estimate 17,727,700 up from 16,267,200 in previous year.
  • 2024 Quota: Total commercial quota for Queensland in 2024 is 2,486,400, up from 2,210,400 in 2023.

Note: Requests for Mitigation permits now at extremely low levels which indicates Kangaroos have been exterminated in large areas of the state through a combination of overshooting and the construction of large scale exclusion or cluster fencing which wildlife cannot cross and along which trapped wildlife is exterminated in large numbers – includes species like Kangaroos, Wallabies and Emus.

South Australia:

  • Population estimate 3,912,711 up from 3,833,889 in previous year.
  • 2024 Quota: Total commercial quota for South Australia in 2024 is 589,200, up from 576,300 in 2023.

Note: In 2023, actual commercial take against quota is running at 15 per cent despite zone expansions and the adding of more species to the commercial list in the recent period. The Red Kangaroo is being hammered and now accounts for about half of all commercial kills in the state. Yet, for the Red Kangaroo, the SA populations estimates show a 24 per cent increase which is impossible, even without the industrial scale killing. The treatment of Macropods on Kangaroo Island along with associated claims regarding populations needs proper review and investigation.

Western Australia

Two species of Kangaroo are currently killed for commercial gain in Western Australia, the Red Kangaroo and the Western Grey Kangaroo. Commercial exploitation of Euros (Macropus robustus) did not take place between 2003-2006 and from 2010-2023.

  • 2024 Population estimate 1,695,390 down from 2,156,550 in previous year.
  • 2024 Quota: Total commercial quota for Western Australia in 2024 is 263,935 (reduced to 250,430 in February 2024), down from 328,470 in 2023.


Tasmania, for some strange reason avoids scrutiny and does not report estimates or actuals for commercial exploitation of wildlife to the Commonwealth Government, it needs to do so as the unrelenting slaughter of wildlife, including Kangaroos, Wallabies and Possums, for commercial gain, including exports, all occur without proper scrutiny.


“A state managed harvest of Kangaroos and Wallabies for export must have an approved management plan under the Environment Protection Biodiversity Conservation Act (1999 EPBC Act). These plans include conservative annual harvest quoters based on scientifically robust population monitoring. The plans also implement zoning to support even population control and prevent localised depletion. Harvest quoters are monitored and reviewed annually and harvest quotas are reduced when population monitoring detects declines. Approved State Government Wildlife Trade Management Plans and Wildlife Trade Operations for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos are published on the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water website”. Commonwealth Government of Australia


All of it with not a single hint of compassion for the animals involved, all states claiming that what they are doing is humane. This is a a very long way from the truth.

Butchered where they are killed. In Australia this is described as the work of a professional shooter who is poorly paid but lucky to be 'managed', along with, believe it or not, the Kangaroos, by another bunch of highly paid professionals working sustainably and humanely, this time, public servants from the Environment Department. All of it a grotesque misuse of purpose, language and meaning (and public finances).

Currency of Kangaroo ‘Management' Plans

  • Victoria: Current plan - Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2021-2023 which expires end 2023, new plan with Commonwealth Government for sign off – Victorian Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2024-2028.
  • New South Wales: Current Management Plan – NSW Commercial Kangaroo Harvest Management Plan 2022–26 – signed off following the disgraceful findings of the Health and wellbeing of kangaroos and other macropods in New South Wales (referred March 2021).
  • Queensland: Current Management Plan – Queensland Wildlife Trade Management Plan: Commercially Harvested Macropods 2023-2027.
  • South Australia: Current Management Plan – South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2020-2024.
  • Western Australia: Current Management Plan – Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia 2019-2023, new plan with Commonwealth Government and has been approved - Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest of Kangaroos in Western Australia 2024- 2028.
  • Tasmania: Exploits Wallabies, Forester Kangaroo and Possums for commercial gain. We cannot find any overall Government Plan but individual plans for a particular company do or did exist, for example - Management Plan for the Commercial Harvest and Export of Wallaby from Tasmania. System needs dramatic improvement.
  • Australian Capital Territory: Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in the ACT remains unlikely for the foreseeable future. Reasons cited include ‘the costs of establishing, administering and monitoring a commercial operation are likely to be significant’.
  • Northern Territory: No commercial exploitation in relation to Kangaroos at this time, which would likely be culturally unacceptable. We spend a lot of time in the Northern Territory and see very few Kangaroos. Species such as the Agile Wallaby may be of future risk of commercial exploitation.