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Chance would be a fine thing

Life on land

“Locked as we are in our world of the present, it is a challenge for us to appreciate the flow of evolutionary processes that shaped the world that we inhabit” Richard Leakey

May 21, 2023

What Emma learns is the shocking way in which Australianwildlife is treated and the hypocrisy of using the very same animals to markettourism and attract visitors to Australia. We take a quick look to see what isgoing on in South Australia, a state which has devastated its wildlifepopulations, over the very short period of its colonial history.

No chance: Kangaroos in South Australia

“Members have been reporting the increased Kangaroo numbers across many areas of the state for some time.”
"The population estimate for Kangaroos in the commercial harvest area s in 2020, including the new areas, is 3.6 million, a decrease compared to the 2018 estimate of 4.4 million".
"The 2020 commercial quota for all Kangaroo species is 518,600 Kangaroos across the entire expanded harvest zone, representing a 477 per cent increase on the number actually harvested in 2018. This quota is less than the 2019 quota of 730,200 and reflects the reduced population estimates asa result of the current dry conditions”.  
“During late 2019 and early 2020, a bush fire burnt approximately 50% of Kangaroo Island. Harvest was suspended on the island during January 2020. A number of survey methods were used during 2020 to determine the effect of the fire on the Western Grey Kangaroo (Sooty Kangaroo)and Tammar Wallaby populations, and develop a credible population estimate for both species. Below is an overview of the survey methods used and the results produced for Tammar Wallabies and Western Grey Kangaroos (Sooty Kangaroo)".
Based on the survey results, a reduced sustainable use quota will be set at 10% of the population estimate for Western Grey Kangaroos (SootyKangaroo) and 7% of the population estimate for Tammar Wallabies on KangarooIsland for 2021. Both aerial surveys showed that Kangaroos were spread across the island, although fewer were present in the burnt areas on the west side of the island. Compared to the 2019 fixed-wing survey estimate of 14.9/ km2, the2020 survey indicates a 34% reduction in the Western Grey Kangaroo (Sooty Kangaroo) population on Kangaroo Island.”


The quotes above are all from South Australian Government documents.

Rescued Eastern Grey Kangaroo joey

Last chance: Kangaroos in South Australia

Here are the numbers from the actual reports provided by theSouth Australian Government which give the numbers of Kangaroos killed forcommercial gain. NOTE: These numbers, because of adjustments, differ slightlyfrom the numbers now being quoted on the South Australian Government website,there are also slight differences in reports when numbers are compared.

South Australia: The story in 2019

In 2018, the commercial quota for Kangaroos (then just three species on the commercial list) was 785,800, the actual number killed and processed for commercial purposes was 108,541. Just 14 per cent of the commercial quota for that year.

In 2019, the commercial quota for Kangaroos (then just three species on the commercial list) was 752,100, the actual number killed and processed for commercial purposes was 99,452. Just 13 per cent of the commercial quota for that year.

South Australia: The story in 2020

In 2020, the commercial quota for Kangaroos (now five species on the commercial list – Red Kangaroo, Western and Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Euro and Tammar Wallaby) comparing like with like on a regional basis was 458,400, the shooting zone expansions, in part enabling the killing of new species, carried with them a quota 60,200. So all up the commercial quota for 2020 was 518,600. The actual number killed and processed for commercial purposes to 31 August was 74,027 and at that time the full year projection stood at 106,609 (I do not have full year actuals for 2020 at this time). Taking the full year projection into account, just 20 per cent of the commercial quota for that year. Remember they are now shooting more species across a larger area and that the quota for the year was also lower.

So by 2020 the South Australian Government was getting worried that there might be something crook (Australian / NZ term for BAD) with their counting. So then they bring in more regions where these animals can be killed for commercial gain. They then attempted to add four more species of Kangaroo and Wallaby to the commercial list in South Australia and got away with adding three. They then set the commercial quota in South Australia (this time for six species) by 477 per cent over the 2018 actuals, to 518,600.

In 2020 I suggested to the South Australian Government that they might like to stop killing Kangaroos because of the impact of the catastrophic fires and the dangers relating to transmission of the COVID-19virus (given shooters move around, zoonotic diseases etc). So while we were locked up in Melbourne for months on end because of COVID, in South Australia (as in other states) they were still happily shooting Kangaroos for commercial gain, as the government had claimed, in their response to me, that the mass killing was an ‘essential service’.

Red Kangaroo joey after rescue

South Australia: The story in 2021

In 2021 they look like they have now actually added the sixth species to their commercial kill list, so the killing is now set to commence (delayed because of Kangaroo Island’s devastating fires), that will be our Sooty Kangaroo (Kangaroo Island Western Grey Kangaroo). That is a complete disgrace.

The 2021 South Australian Government commercial quota for all species and regions is 407,000. The Tammar Wallaby quotas are interesting and telling (newly added species to commercial list) when 2020 and 2021 quotas are compared, that is, 8,700 in 2020 and 2,900 in 2021, a 67 per cent decline year on year. Looks like an opportunistic species grab to me, and soon they will all be gone (just like once before).