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Kangaroos and Wallabies in the Northern Territory

Life on land

“Kangaroos and Wallabies are killed or injured on Territory roads each year, but joeys can often survive such incidences”. Northern Territory Government

Peter Hylands, Andrea Hylands

May 21, 2023

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.

Population densities

The Northern Territory Government makes the point that the financial outcomes of creating a commercial trade in Kangaroos, Red Kangaroos and Euros, given very low population densities, would be unacceptable. Densities much higher than five Kangaroos per square kilometer are required to sustain a commercial industry over the majority of a shooting zone.

This is not to say Kangaroos in the Northern Territory are safe, they are not, and we now see very few, mostly none on our extensive and remote journeys through the Northern Territory. That is in the central deserts and ranges and in the tropical savanna.

“In the Northern Territory, commercial exploitation of Kangaroos at such low densities is likely only to be viable over relatively small areas, largely because of the economics of exploiting them (Kangaroo shooters tend to cease taking Kangaroos when densities fall to around 2–3 Kangaroos per km2)”. Department of Natural Resources, Environment and the Arts, Northern Territory 2008

On culture in the place we like best of all

Things have changed radically in Arnhem Land over the last hundred years, a kind of ebb and flow of outside interference from governments of left and right. Ideologies and theories about life and how we live in this world, thrust upon an Indigenous world. Our way is better than yours, so this is the new plan.

An intervention here, a basics card there, yet more stolen children and on and on it goes, special laws and prisons, made specially for Indigenous people. Wrong of course and nothing changes in the minds far down south.

What we should all hope for is that Aboriginal people continue to defend their lands in the resilient, vigilant, vigorous, courageous and powerful ways in which they have always done.

In this way, as the day’s end approaches, we will come to see millions of dragonflies in Arnhem Land as they dance under a reddening sky.

And in this way, and in this world, we can all remain strong.

Macropodidae family in the Northern Territory

Kangaroos and Wallabies

  • Antilopine Kangaroo
  • Black Wallaroo
  • Wallaroo (Euro)
  • Red Kangaroo
  • Black-flanked Rock-wallaby (Black-footed Rock Wallaby)
  • Short-eared Rock-wallaby
  • Nabarlek
  • Northern Nail-tail Wallaby
  • Agile Wallaby
  • Rufous Hare-wallaby (Mala) extinct in the wild in the NT 1990s, re-introduced
  • Spectacled Hare-wallaby


  • Lake Mackay Hare-wallaby (Kuluwarri)
  • Crescent Nail-tail Wallaby