this website uses cookies. by continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our cookies policy.
got it  X

Snapshot: Commercial exploitation of Kangaroos in Queensland

Life on land

“In Queensland legislation, all native mammals are protected but species can be declared ‘of least concern’ wildlife and harvested”. Queensland Government

May 21, 2023

Setting the quotas for 2022 - In 2021, all 22 survey monitor blocks in Queensland were surveyed. Since regionalisation of the Queensland commercial exploitation of Kangaroos was introduced in 2003, an estimate of Kangaroo population size in the eastern and western zones has been made. Since 2011 a correction factor of 1.85 has been applied to population estimates for the Wallaroo. Prior to 2011 a correction factor of 1.2 was applied.

Population and quotas

The 2021 survey found that the total population of the commercially exploited species for 2022 was an estimated 12,959,400. Composed 4,595,150 Red Kangaroos; 6,625,550 Eastern Grey Kangaroos and 1,738,700 Wallaroos.

The total quotas in 2022 for the three species was set at 1,783,850. Composed 18.2 per cent of Red Kangaroo population at 837,150,11.1 per cent of the Eastern Grey Kangaroo population at 734,750 and 12.2 percent of the Wallaroo population at 211,950.

“Quotas up to 20 per cent of population estimates are considered sustainable”. Queensland Government

Overall, combined population estimate totals for all three species declined across the state. Population estimates have decreased for Eastern Grey Kangaroos in the eastern zone. In the central zone north and central zone south the Eastern Grey Kangaroo population estimates are below a predetermined trigger point, as a result there is no quota for this species in these regions for 2022.

The Red Kangaroo population estimate for the central zone and western zone increased slightly but decreased slightly in the central zone east region. For the Wallaroo population estimates increased in the central zone but decreased in the eastern zone.

“In the 2020 harvest period, only 18.2 per cent of the commercial harvest quota was utilised (they mean achieved), with the highest percentage of quota used being 77.9 per cent forWallaroo in the central zone. The overall harvest was male biased, with females comprising 21 per cent of the overall harvest”. Queensland Government

Quotas never met because the Kangaroos do not exist

In 2020, 18.2 per cent of the quota was filled, in 2019, 24 per cent and in 2018 it was 26 per cent. The year-on-year declines should tell us a lot and the commercial Kangaroo industry will kill every animal it can find to maintain the viability of the industry. Evidence suggests that chiller boxes in which Kangaroo carcasses are stored (sometimes for lengthy periods) are being moved from Queensland to Victoria.

Bad maths

“None of the three commercially exploited species has shown a consistent decline in abundance since 1992 (which would necessitate a reassessment of the commercial take and species conservation status”. Queensland Government 2021

The total Queensland population (from surveys that define the quota in the following year) of the three commercially exploited species as given by Queensland and Commonwealth Governments is as follows:

  • 2021 – 12,959,400
  • 2020 – 16,663, 850
  • 2018 – 20,999,900
  • 2013 – 32,803,900
  • 2001 - 37,574,300

National Parks and droughts

In Queensland, the three commercially exploited Kangaroo species are still protected from exploitation in national parks and state forests. Drought continued to be a factor impacting Kangaroo populations throughout the ‘harvest’ zones, particularly in the central north and south.

This is reflected in the reduced quotas in these regions for 2022. Over the past 12 months significant declines were also observed in the eastern zone.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Queensland

Reality check

“My advice in the current context, as always, would be to divide the population estimates by 4 and that might set the record straight”.

Nothing ever changes unless things get worse

“There is great concern among critics that management programs both for individual States and the Commonwealth are insensitive to the plight of Kangaroos during environmental stress periods as during the 1982-1984 drought. The perceived insensitivity at that time was an apparent inability or unwillingness to reduce the commercial ‘harvest’ of Kangaroos in what critics considered a timely manner during an environmental stress period. The critics argue that demands from the pastoral industry and the commercial Kangaroo industry superseded important Kangaroo management decisions. The present concern with insensitivity occurred because some important Kangaroo habitats experienced droughts during 1992 at a time when a record macropod ‘harvest’ quota of 5.2 million animals (including 4,942,000 Red and Grey Kangaroos) was established.” [Federal Register Volume 60, Number 46 (Thursday, March 9, 1995)] Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Removal of Three Kangaroos From the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife

The Australian Government has worked hard on trying to influence US Governments to remove Kangaroo species from the US threatened species list. That removal has taken us to the dire circumstances now facing Kangaroos across the Australian Continent.

The Red Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo, and the Eastern Grey Kangaroo in mainland Australia were listed in the US on December 30, 1974 (39 FR 44990), as threatened species pursuant to the Act and the commercial importation of Kangaroos, their parts, and products were banned. A special rule to allow such importations into the United States after development of adequate State management plans accompanied the listing.

Human and animal health

It is clear that Kangaroo carcasses are sometimes stored with feral pig and deer carcasses, and for very long periods, often in flyblown conditions in remote places. Now it is the goats turn.

When Kangaroos are collected from the chiller boxes where they are stored in states like Queensland it is likely that the journey to the processing plant will be a very long one. Other species are appearing in the mix because the Kangaroo populations have been reduced to such an extent that the commercial exploitation of Kangaroos is no longer viable. As interstate trade in these carcasses increases the health risks become even higher. Given this is occurring during the pandemic, it shows that lessons in Australia are never learned.

Extracts from Queensland Country Life

“Authorities have uncovered an emerging market for dressed goat carcasses at chiller box facilities after a mob of goats were shot on a south-west property last week. Police traced the stolen animals to a number of goat carcasses logged at a Kangaroo chiller box facility in Roma and later charged two local men”. December 2021
After the revelation last December of stolen goats being sold to chiller box facilities in the Maranoa region, producers have expressed concern at the rising number of animals being taken from private properties. Ms Hannah said her family had reported about $120,000 in Boer goats stolen from their property to police, and she feared that amount could be higher. Ms Hannah said now that she was aware that goats were able to be sold to chiller boxes, she was more concerned than ever about stock theft.
I wouldn't know if any of my goats have been taken to the roo box, would I? My question is, are the goats being put in with the Kangaroos? Because that's a cross-contamination of species and is definitely not allowed, Ms Allen said”. 7 January 2022

Shooter’s laments From Queensland and Western Australia

Social media can be useful as a measure of what is happening to Kangaroo populations across the regions.

  • The impact of fences (cluster fences) then do roo drives to mass kill them is devastating. Now the drought is cleaning up what’s left.
  • Paying for chopper shoots is making a massive difference (to populations).
  • Fence with government funding assistance then destock and fill troughs up with urea and watch….. (For many years, there have been anecdotal reports of landholders intentionally poisoning Kangaroos by adding urea to water troughs – this practice is illegal).
  • Yep, it’s just about fucked, greys and wallaroos just about over.
  • I can’t even shoot a 20 kilo average.
  • The industry is pretty well fucked in WA for the part timer anyway.

Information in this story sourced from Queensland Government documents