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Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in Victoria: What the numbers tell us

Life on land

“We describe in numbers what has occurred in Victoria since the introduction of the commercial trade in wildlife in 2014. The killing rate is up sharply, the population estimates and quotas are hyperinflated and they are fast running out of Kangaroos to kill, hence the move into public lands".

Peter and Andrea Hylands

December 9, 2023

A sustained increase in killing of Kangaroos commenced in 2013 to the lead up of the Kangaroo Pet Food Trial (KPFT) in Victoria. In an attempt to justify the commercial exploitation of wildlife, accompanied by a propaganda campaign by staff from the Department of Environment in Victoria, claiming among other things, that Kangaroos were dangerous, Kangaroos were diseased, Kangaroos damaged infrastructure, Kangaroos were in ‘plague’ proportions and their populations were exploding – all of it false and aimed at misleading the public so that a cruel and unsustainable introduction of the commercial exploitation of these iconic Australian animals could commence without causing the public outrage that it should have received . Conduct that should never occur in any democratic government.

Figure 1:  Increase in quotas to 2023 (Commercial and ATCW combined)

Note: Decline in COVID year 2020 but the killing continued despite lockdowns in Victoria.

Figure 2:  Kangaroo Harvest Victoria (decline in commercial take against quota from 2020) compared to Mainland Australia (actual take against commercial quota – includes Victoria) – per cent

Note: Percentage of actual take increases mainly because the quota is lower in a given year. For example, the 2021 quota for Australia was 1,524,085 lower than the quota in 2020. What was particularly shocking was that for the quota alone, the reduction in the quota between those years was higher than the actual take in those years. From a mathematical point of view we are in extermination territory.

The reality always was that that Victoria was ‘needed’ to keep the Australia wide commercial exploitation (along with zone extensions and adding new species in other states) to extend the life of a dying and evidently unsustainable exploitation of wildlife.

So brazen were they that the Victorian Government and its Department of Environment even extended the commercial killing into Melbourne’s suburbs, which, because of growing public protest, will be excluded from the predations of commercial activity from 2025. No such courtesy or consideration was extended to people living in regional Victoria, often in the frontline of the constant killing of wildlife.

This does not mean that Kangaroos in Melbourne will be safe but it reduces the slaughter.

The tables below give the population estimates (population surveys commenced in 2017, three years after commercial exploitation began), quotas for commercial and for control (ATCW) and actual take when these are known. You will notice that there are spaces or a na where data is missing. While the Victorian Government claims it is managing Kangaroo populations (a silly idea in itself) one would imagine that to manage any situation, you would need to understand the numbers to back up any plans and actions. If we do not have those numbers there is a very high probability that the Victorian Government also does not know them. So we are flying blind here and in too many cases we do not know what actually happened.

It appears that the people of Melbourne and Victoria are a great deal more sophisticated than their state government, with its seemingly endless attacks on Australian wildlife in the state.

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