The Australian Wildlife Protection Council (AWPC) was able to help citizen advocates generate a groundswell of public awareness and fight-back in June and July 2022 against the now annual ‘cull’ in Canberra of the kangaroo (our icon holding up one side of the federal coat-of-arms). Whole kangaroo families are shot behind suburban backyards — for reasons that remain unclear despite government blame-the-victim narratives — on nature reserves in the national capital.
Nobel laureate J.M. Coetzee is one of fifty well-known authors and scientists who have signed this open letter to the Canberra public protesting the mass killing of kangaroos which has been taking place annually for some time in Canberra. For those interested in the history of this annual slaughter, Candobetter.net has published at length on this subject here: http://candobetter.net/SaveTheKangaroo. It is wonderful that a number of influential people have now put their names on the line to defend kangaroos from slaughter and kangaroo science from ideology. Many more people are also against this absurd and cruel practice. [Candobetter.net Editor: Republished from http://www.beautifulwild.com/. Also available here: http://www.arcohab.org/#!letter/c1yzj. Also the subject of an article in the Canberra Times.]
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE PUBLIC OF CANBERRA
We the undersigned believe the need for a mass killing of kangaroos by the ACT Government is ill thought out and cannot be substantiated. The analysis in support of such a program fails the tests of good science, conservation, animal welfare, economy and humanity.
We understand that: no causal evidence of any rigorous kind has been provided that directly links kangaroo grazing on Canberra nature reserves with the demise of other small threatened species. No assessment of the subjective lives of native animals in Canberra’s nature reserves is provided as a clue to their survival. No commonly used non-lethal management tools have been advocated by those who believe in the negative impact of the current kangaroo population on the rest of the environment, despite considerable evidence over many years and in many places that they are effective.
The decision to proceed with the killing disregards the extreme brutality of the killing process. There has been no assessment of the impact of mass native animal killings on the local economy and society and our view is that these costs are substantial.
The scientifically substantiated appreciation of other animals’ cognitive, emotional and psychological capacities requires that we break the cycle of violence of conventional management methods. Abandoning such measures offers a unique opportunity to find innovative solutions which promote sustainability and reflect the desire of communities for peaceful coexistence with other creatures on the planet.
We therefore call for an immediate cessation of the mass killing of these native animals, and for a full and truly independent examination of the above-listed and other relevant matters by respected professionals.
Pam Ahern, Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary, Victoria
Dr Rosemary Austen, kangaroo rehabilitation and translocation expert, medical practitioner, ACT
Dr Jonathan Balcombe, biologist, author, Animal Studies Dept (Chair) Humane Society University, Washington D.C. (USA)
Marc Bekoff, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder (USA)
Dr Dror Ben-Ami, Co-founder and lead researcher, Centre of Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology Sydney.
Dr Jeffrey Borchers, ecologist, the Kerulos Center, USA
Dr Melissa Boyde, Australasian Animal Studies Association; Senior Research Fellow, Faculty of Law Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong
Gay Bradshaw, PhD (ecology), PhD (psychology), CEO The Kerulos Center (USA)
David Brooks, author, editor, Hon A/Prof, University of Sydney
J M Coetzee, writer
Claire Colebrook, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Literature, Pennsylvania State University (USA)
Dr Margo DeMello, PhD, Animals & Society Institute (USA)
Carolyn Drew, MAdEd, Executive Director of Regions, Institute for Critical Animal Studies
Lara Drew, Ph D candidate, Education, University of Canberra
Ray Drew, MA Communication Grad Cert Psychoanalytic Studies, Wildlife Photographer
Katrina Fox, journalist and author
Professor Steve Garlick, PhD, University of Technology, Sydney
Stephen Graham LLB, Virtual Lawyers and Mediators Pty Ltd.
Dr Jason Grossman, philosopher of science
Naomi Henry, Voiceless Council
Melanie Joy, PhD, Professor, University of Massachusetts, Boston; President, Beyond Carnism; Author
Professor Vrasidas Karalis, Modern Greek Studies, University of Sydney
John Kinsella, author, Professorial Research Fellow, UWA; Professor of Sustainability and Literature, Curtin University.
Lawyers for Animals
David Malouf, writer
Clare Mann, psychologist, author and Managing Director of Communicate31
Jeffrey Masson, Ph.D., Author
Alex Miller, writer
Raymond Mjadwesch, ecologist
Alison Moore, Ph.D., Faculty of Law, Humanities and the Arts, University of Wollongong
Nic Nassuet, singer/songwriter (USA)
Mark Pearson, member NSW Legislative Council
Teja Brooks Pribac, The Kerulos Center; PhD Candidate University of Sydney
Daniel Ramp, Ph.D., Director, Centre for Compassionate Conservation, University of Technology, Sydney
Tracy Ryan, author
Stephen Sewell, playwright
Lynda Stoner, Animal Liberation NSW
Bill Taylor Ph.D., retired CSIRO plant scientist
Maria Taylor Ph.D., science communication, author, newspaper publisher
Associate Professor Nik Taylor, School of Social and Policy Studies, Flinders University, South Australia
Marianne Thieme, Leader & Chair, Party for the Animals, The Netherlands
Dr Christine Townend, author, founder Animal Liberation, NSW, co-founder Animals Australia
Dr Richard Twine, Co-Director, Centre for Human-Animal Studies, Edge Hill University (UK)
Dinesh Joseph Wadiwel, Ph.D., Socio-Legal Studies and Human Rights, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Sydney
Brenda Walker, writer, Winthrop Professor of English and Cultural Studies, University of Western Australia
Bren Weatherstone, M.Env Sci., teacher (ACT)
Elizabeth Webby, Professor Emerita, Australian Literature, University of Sydney
Dr Richard J. White, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, Sheffield Hallam University (UK)
Professor Stuart White, Director, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology, Sydney
Phil Wollen, OAM Founder of Winsome Constance Kindness Trust
Gypsy Wulff, Teacher, Author, Publisher, Founder of Spirit Wings Humane Education Inc.
If you would like to help the campaign to stop the A.C.T. Government kill of kangaroos, please sign the Animals Australia petition: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/take_action/stop-kangaroo-slaughter-ACT
Petition to Shane Rattenbury, MLA, Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, A.C.T. : https://www.change.org/p/shane-rattenbury-end-the-cruel-slaughter-of-kangaroos-on-public-reserves
Link to The Alliance for Respectful Co-habitation: www.arcohab.org
Taking action! If you live in or near the Australian Capital Territory, and would like to help out in the field by helping to monitor the reserves, please email Carolyn Drew at [email protected]
Candobetter.net: Thank you to Brett Clifton for his wonderful site with photographs of many kangaroos at http://www.brettclifton.com/Welcome.html from which I have sourced the photographs in this article.
For other candobetter.net about kangaroo culls, especially in the ACT see this tag.
"ACT government senior ecologist Dr Donald Fletcher [see more below] defended the research behind the cull, as a hearing before the full bench of ACAT entered its third day on Thursday [5 June 2014]. [...] At one point [Animal Liberation's lawyers] argued a graph, which contained data used to justify the shootings at one reserve, was "pretty useless", although Dr Fletcher stood by most of the figures in the report.
Dr Fletcher admitted he hadn't made adjustments to the population figures throughout the year, and didn't take into account fluctuations due to the time of year the kangaroo populations were counted. He said that meant the government was likely to be ''under-culling'' this year. ''One of the flaws is I haven't allowed for that spring increment,'' he said. Dr Fletcher said several times he couldn't remember how he had calculated certain figures in the population growth estimates. When questioned by lawyers, Dr Fletcher said one of the figures in the data did not demonstrate good science.
[...] On Wednesday, former CSIRO plant scientist Dr William Taylor told the hearing there were "significant deficiencies" in the data the ACT government used for the cull.
The tribunal allowed last year's cull to go ahead following a similar legal challenge brought by animal welfare groups, and a decision was made to target fewer animals.
More than 1500 kangaroos were shot dead in last year's cull, including 355 [in pouch joeys]." Source: http://www.theage.com.au/act-news/act-government-ecologist-defends-kangaroo-cull-figures-at-hearing-20140605-zrz34.html
For the first time the 'science' behind the annual Kangaroo cull has been called into question and we have to thank everyone who worked tirelessly behind the scenes to create such a strong case against the Government. Thank you also to those who attended the hearing, your presence was extremely supportive. And a huge thank you to the ADO team who without their knowledge, professionalism and what became hundreds of hours of work, we would not have had a case.
Animal Liberation ACT’s lawyers, the Animal Defenders Office, persuaded a judge to grant a stay against the kangaroo cull on the basis that the government has failed in its duty to prove the kangaroo cull had improved biodiversity over the past six years.
“They have not collected any baseline data or monitoring data on the conditions of other species on the reserves they say they are saving,” says legislative drafter Ward, who moonlights as a volunteer with the Animal Defenders Office. “If the government wants to go and kill more than 1,600 healthy wild animals, we have to be clear that the science is impeccable before we let them do that.”
Dr Fletcher’s Phd thesis oddly at odds with Canberra culls
(For full article about previous culls see "ACT Roo killings: Who profits? Behind the Earless Dragon mask")
One scientist who was closely associated with the Belconnen cull and the Majura cull, was Don Fletcher. Fletcher is the Senior Ecologist in Research and Monitoring in Parks, Conservation and Lands, Department of Territory and Municipal Services, ACT. His involvement in the Belconnen Roo cull seems to have been officially limited to capturing then releasing female survivors after inserting contraceptives in them. He was one of the writers of the public consultation document leading up to the Majura cull.
He defended these culls and has defended the assessments leading up to the Majura culls in a public consultation document. Yet his own thesis on the “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” seemed to discredit claims at the basis of these culls, which were too high population density and a need to manage it down to one kangaroo per hectare. For instance, he wrote on page 237 of his study that :
“The study did not provide evidence that high densities of kangaroos reduce groundcover to the levels where erosion can accelerate. Unmanaged kangaroo populations did not necessarily result in low levels of ground cover. Groundcover had a positive but not significant relationship to kangaroo density, with the highest cover at the wettest site where kangaroo density was highest. Weather has an important influence on groundcover.”
He also wrote that some of the populations he was studying were at the highest density recorded. They ranged between 4.5 and 5.1 kangaroos per hectare. The density in the studies below was expressed in square kilometers. To get density per hectare, divide by 100.  Fletcher wrote:
“The kangaroo density estimates reported in Chapter 7 for the three study sites (mean eastern grey kangaroo densities of 450, 480 and 510 km2) are the highest kangaroo densities reported. For comparison, the maximum density of combined red kangaroos and western grey kangaroos in the Kinchega study was less than 56 km2 (Bayliss 1987) and the density of eastern grey kangaroos at Wallaby Creek (Southwell 1987b) was 41 to 50 km2. The next highest kangaroo density outside the vicinity of my study sites appears to be that of Coulson et al. (1999a) for eastern grey kangaroos at Yan Yean Reservoir near Melbourne, which was 220 km2.”
Coulson’s study of kangaroos at 2.2 per ha was published in 1999 as Coulson G, Alviano P, Ramp P, Way S “The kangaroos of Yan Yean: history of a problem population”.  Graham Coulson’s Yan Yean article is frequently cited by kangaroo population students and he seems to be thought of as the originator of the “one kangaroo per kilometer” ‘rule’.
I did contact Dr Fletcher by email, and he was initially quite friendly, but when I attempted to ask him questions about his thesis responses to my emails ceased, even though I re-sent the emails.
 Don Fletcher, “Population Dynamics of Eastern Grey Kangaroos in Temperate Grasslands,” was on line as a pdf, which is the form I downloaded it as. Now apparently only available from University of Canberra Library, reference: http://nla.gov.au/anbd.bib-an42269526. A book by the same title and author has also been published.
 There are 100 ha in one square km. So if density varied between 450 and 510 kangs per square km, then that is 4.5 p ha or 5.10 per ha. With 220 per square km 2.2 per ha.
 Coulson G, Alviano P, Ramp P, Way S (1999). “The kangaroos of Yan Yean: history of a problem population”, Proc R Soc Vic 111: 121–130.
Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc (http://animalarmy.org/) need to meet a target goal of up to $9000 right now for urgent ACT licenced Ecological studies to expose ACT Government manufactured science and provide a new habitat to release translocated kangaroos.
After many months of dedicated and tireless research and project development, the Alphadog AnimalArmy Inc ACT Kangaroo Translocation project trial proposal is under consideration by the ACT Government. For the past 5 months, Charity Director, Marcus Fillinger has poured his time, money, blood, sweat and tears into the 81 page document submission that will challenge and expose every aspect of the ACT Government’s current questionable, flawed and unsubstantiated approach to kangaroo management.
As it is inevitable that the ACT TAMS Minister will announce another unnecessary kill of ACT kangaroos, your chance to make a real difference is needed right now. As part of Alphadog AnimalArmy’s negotiations with Government about our project submission, we have provided the Government with a variety of potential release sites for translocated kangaroos. These sites need to be Ecologically assessed by a licensed ACT Ecologist – and to that end we need up to $9000 URGENTLY. $3000 will cover a preliminary assessment with another $6000 needed for a comprehensive assessment report.
This must be completed before the TAMS Minister announces a cull – because by then it will be too late.
The TAMS Minister has provided a potential option to have their own Government Ecologists or Government-funded contractor to assess these sites. As we see it, the only logical option is that we provide our own independent licensed assessment. As you can imagine, having the ACT Government do an assessment or commission their own contractor to undertake an assessment is as flawed as their need to kill annually – moreover as they are adamant there is no where for kangaroos to live in the ACT – and that statement came from the office of the ACT Greens Minister!
Your time to help is right now!! We need your donations to make change for kangaroos now and into the future with non-lethal wildlife management in this ever shrinking world. With a variety of other modular components to non-lethal wildlife management to come, Alphadog AnimalArmy have created a mechanism and real world, practical and logical solution that will bring permanent change. After all, this is what we do on a nearly daily basis across the boarder in NSW!
The need for donations also extends to the need for Alphadog AnimalArmy to purchase a rescue vehicle that will provide ease of transport for up to 4 kangaroos at a time.
Your time to act is now, and is simple as donating some money to make sure you can help us provide a future for ACT kangaroos. This year, if kangaroos are being killed in the dead of night in the middle of winter with family units being brutally torn apart and joeys fleeing into the dead of night to die of exposure or predation – remember that you had a chance to do something about it.
Image removed by sender.With logic and ethics on our side, we are presenting translocation as an evidence-based, humane and non-lethal option that will become the future of native wildlife management within the ACT and around the world.
Without your support, kangaroos will continue to face violent and unnecessary deaths at the hands of the ACT Government.
To underline the magnitude of work we are doing for non-lethal wildlife management around the world, we're currently lobbying the Canadian (Ontario) Government to adopt translocation of black bears as opposed to the proposed implementation of a bi-annual cull. Further north, we are assisting with further development of monitoring and relocation practices of polar bears in conjunction with a three-part North Pole expedition series. The expedition series will be undertaken by charity Director Marcus Fillinger and will bring international awareness to the relentless demonization and brutal slaughter of Australia's iconic kangaroos.
Image removed by sender.With ever-shrinking habitats due to the impact of human population and development, native animals around the world will benefit from translocation as the future of responsible, ethical and sustainable wildlife management - ACT kangaroos are no exception.The ACT Kangaroos need your urgent help. Every dollar will count.
Support to other Groups
For those groups or individuals who may be challenging the ACT Government in the court system who may require our specialist knowledge and expertise, we are happy to assist with your arguments pertaining to non-lethal management.
Please donate and forward this email throughout your networks and share via Facebook and Twitter using the links below.
ACT Greens Minister Shane Rattenbury approved the massacre of 1455 kangaroos, thereby proving Greens' policy to 'protect native wildlife' a sham! The usual spiel 'The Minister does not take the decision lightly' is a pathetic excuse for not trialling non-lethal methods!
In June 2013, Greens Minister Rattenbury approved the massacre of 1,455 adult kangaroos (excluding pouch young) in Canberra's so-called Nature Reserves. However since then two protest groups - Animal Liberation ACT and the Australian Society for Kangaroos - launched urgent legal action to stay the seven cull licenses in the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal. They wanted the culls delayed by the tribunal until a full review of the government's decision occurred, and said they would be at a significant disadvantage if a stay was not granted. Unfortunately, the protest groups lost and a total of 1244 kangaroos were approved to be massacred in seven Nature Reserve Parks.
What kind of political party would have a policy to 'protect native wildlife' and 'ensure that animals' rights and welfare are respected' then go ahead and authorise a bloody massacre of native animals?
Cruelty in Kangaroo 'Culls'
And it gets worse. For every adult female there is one in-pouch joey and one at foot joey, both dependent on her for 18 months. When she is shot, the pouch young is yanked from her pouch and bashed to death while fully conscious without anesthesia. The at-foot joey will hop away only to die of hunger, predation, hypothermia and a broken heart. In view of how pouch young are despatched, how can the Greens justify this when their policy clearly says 'humans have a duty of care to minimise physical and psychological suffering of animals resulting from human activity'? Where are the strong animal welfare standards when it comes to kangaroo killing? Non-existent obviously.
(photo: Braidwood Wildlife Hospital)
Daniel Iglesius claims that the two professional shooters doing the 'culling'
had an exceptional strike rate of more than 99 per cent for hitting their target the first time. It's extremely unlikely that these shooters would get such a high rate of head shots considering they are shooting at night at moving targets. In fact the RSPCA claims that at least 40% only are not head shots, meaning their face gets blown off and they are still alive or they are body shot and still hop away.
If anyone killed a puppy or kitten like this it would be an offence. Our kangaroo killing is every bit as bad as Canada’s seal hunt. Shame on Australia!
Pseudo-science used to justify brutality
There is currently no evidence of overgrazing, soil loss or threats to other species, but ACT bureaucrats want to spend taxpayers’ money to ‘cull’ in case next year kangaroos breed up.
Where’s the science backing up their claims that:
- kangaroos overgraze
- cause soil loss
- threaten other species
- populations have exploded?
There isn’t any! It all looks very clinical, official and correct. We need to see through this veneer of ‘correctness’ to the cold-hearted brutality masked by pseudo-science.
If you believe the 'science' that kangaroos are overpopulated in these reserves (unproved) and if you believe their population estimates (always hyper-inflated) and if you believe kangaroos are impacting other species (also unproved) in spite of millions of years of living in harmony with other species, then where are the wildlife corridors for them to move on? Why have the Greens not even considered the need for these in view of their policy to protect native wildlife?
Relocation is a viable option that is actually cheaper than shooting and many local and experienced wildlife carers would happily assist, however, the Greens appear to not even consider such an option. When I called Rattenbury's office last month I was told that relocation was not an option because of the high number of deaths. Even if that were true, why do they prefer 100% deaths to a lesser number of deaths? As it turns out Professor Steve Garlick and his wife Rosemary Garlick presented a paper in Adelaide showing 0% deaths in their relocation of 700 kangaroos over the years. Why aren't they being consulted by the Greens?
Letter by Macropod Author and Lecturer to Minister Rattenbury dated 9th June 2013
ACT Minister Environment- Simon Corbell MLA
ACT Chief Minister- Katy Gallagher
ACT Legislative Assembly- Shane Rattenbury
I am appalled at the recent announcement (at the last hour) from the Government to kill healthy Eastern grey kangaroos in Canberra national parks. This is NOT a cull, since these are healthy animals!
This is the most underhanded and disgustingly corrupt display of authoritarianism, which seems typical of the way in which this Government works, without any consideration or input from the people who elected them. If this planned slaughter of healthy animals was based on scientific evidence, why isn't this evidence published for public comment?
How is it that healthy, native animals can be slaughtered without any statistics of the numbers of kangaroos present in the Canberra Parks which covers approximately 50 square kilometres?
WHO has carried out a count of these animals? Why hasn't the numbers of kangaroos been published for the public to see?
Last year Mr. Iglesias stated that that, "kangaroos have evolved the ability to quickly take advantage of good conditions"? Kangaroos cannot change their breeding cycle, which remains the same whether conditions are good or bad. Eastern greys have a gestation period of 36 days, it takes 18 months to 2 years for a joey to wean from its mother, reaching sexual maturity between 24 and 36 months; NOTHING can change the physiological development of a kangaroo.
What excuse is being used this year?
Are the authorities aware that kangaroos are an extremely vital aspect of their eco-system, providing all these benefits for mankind? Kangaroos provide a natural fertilization of soil via their faeces. Kangaroo dung promotes nature's soil purifiers, the dung beetles. Dung beetles bury and consume dung, improving nutrient recycling and soil structure. The uptake of nitrogen, phosphorous and sulphur in plants was over 80% greater in soils where dung beetles were active compared to those where they were not. Tunneling dung beetles also assist root penetration and improve water infiltration to the soil, thereby reducing run-off.
Kangaroos provide dispersal of grass seeds to ensure the environment remains in a healthy state. They provide a natural fire prevention by keeping grasses short and preventing understorey kindle that dry out and feed catastrophic bush fires.
I wonder does Mr. Iglesias know that a healthy mob of Grey kangaroos should consist of up to or more than 300 animals? To state that there are 'too many' is comparable to standing on the great plains of Africa and stating that the herds of herbivores on their annual move to greener pastures is a 'plague!
What authorities are obviously not aware of is that Grey kangaroos are the most social of the macropod species and when one of their mob is killed, the effect on an individual can also lead to death, since their bond is so strong. They are only as strong as the number in their mob, the smaller the mob, the less strength of the individuals. The out-of-pouch joeys usually take off in fright when their mother is shot, only to die a very slow and painful death due to starvation and the psychological deprivation of being apart from its maternal mother.
Kangaroos have lived in the Australian ecology for 50 million years and are quite capable of stabilizing their own numbers without any interference from us.
Canberra is emulating a red-neck society, with absolutely NO understanding of the ecology of the natural environment, nor the animals that exist in its diversity.
If your offices intend to send me the standard reply relating to the killing of healthy kangaroos, don't bother. For once in your entire political and business related lives, could you please answer the above questions.
Author and lecturer of macropod husbandry and disease.
Kangaroos provide ecosystem services
While the ACT is quick to blame kangaroos for environmental problems, they forget that it is humans who create the most devastation to the environment (construction, deforestation, roads, livestock farming, barbed wire fences, chemical sprays).
Kangaroos, on the other hand, benefit the ecosystem in many ways (as described in the above letter from Lynda Staker). Therefore, the more kangaroos, the healthier the ecosystem!
Conversely, the more humans the more unhealthy the ecosystem since humans provide no ecosystem services.
Who to Vote for at the next Federal Election
The Greens have shown their true colours as a hypocritical party not worthy of trust. Luckily for wildlife lovers there is a better choice this September - the Animal Justice Party. AJP will keep their word to protect wildlife. See
Kangaroo killing is animal brutality at its worst. The Greens have never really taken an interest in animals. They didn’t even attend the last protest meeting in Canberra on the live trade where AJP President Steve Garlick was the only political party speaker.
Shame on the Greens!
The Panel assembled a legal team of Sydney senior and junior counsel instructed by international law firm, DLA Piper, to apply to the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal this afternoon on behalf of Australian Society for Kangaroos to injunct the ACT kangaroo cull due to commence it was thought this evening. During the hearing it was disclosed that the ACT had planned to commence the first round of shooting on Tuesday night.
7 June 2013
In summary, the hearing will resume next Wednesday to determine whether the Australian Society for Kangaroos and another applicant, Animal Liberation ACT, each has standing to sue. The ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna has undertaken not to commence any killing pending the Tribunal’s determination next Wednesday, 12 June 2013.
The matter has been stood over until 11:00 am next Wednesday, 12 June 2013 for further hearing. The Tribunal made orders that:
the Australian Society for Kangaroos file and serve affidavit evidence by close of business on Tuesday 11 June 2013 in support of its status as an entity, the interests of which are affected by the decision under review, and whether it has the authorisation to commence these proceedings.
the Respondent (the Conservator) is to file and serve affidavit evidence by close of business on Tuesday 11 June 2013 that she (the Conservator) seeks to rely on in response to the application for interim relief.
The Tribunal also noted the undertaking by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna to not commence any killing or activity pursuant to the Licences (all seven) until the Tribunal determines the application for interim orders. Animal Liberation ACT filed a separate application heard at the same time and was represented by a volunteer for the company.
These photographs of a mass-burial pit in Canberra for kangaroos gunned down by the government was sent to me by 'Friends of AnimalArmy' with the message, "We cannot find an investigative journalist anywhere who will expose the corruption and the lies." I cannot understand why not. Don't we want to know the truth?
Do we want to know the truth?
I think that Australians do want to know the truth, but it seems that the mass media is letting us all down.
This infinitely sad photograph of the dead kangaroo with bent head and hand placed around the body of a hairless joey might remind some of you of pictures of Mary and the infant Jesus, and others of bodies in a pit in Auchwitz. The point is that the photograph documents a deeply tragic mistake on the part of the ACT government, that taints it as brutal and dishonest. This is one of several remarkable photographs that came to me via "Friends of AnimalArmy," with the message,
"We cannot find an investigative journalist anywhere who will expose the corruption and the lies."
"They are shooting 20 metres off major 4 laned highways during peak hour in full view of all traffic, being the ACT Govt they are untouchable and do not answer to anyone."
In the early hours of Sunday morning 3 June 2012, activists uncovered a large mass burial pit at the Kama nature reserve. It contained up to an estimated 300+ slain kangaroo bodies. Evidence was discovered amidst a slurry of mud and blood illustrating unethical and illegal practices including throat shots, partially severed joeys and mature kangaroos with smashed heads. The large kangaroo among the small and tiny ones is a big mature male.
These images were taken of an unearthed pit where hundreds of kangaroos have been buried during this 2012 cull. The images are graphic and may be distressing but think how the kangaroos felt. Can any of us imagine? It is most important to share these truths around to friends, families, colleagues, media, and politicians. Blow the lid off the dodgy 'wildlife management' that goes on in the ACT and blow the lid off the mainstream media conspiracy to hide the facts from Australians.
Click here on Animal Liberation ACT’s new website for further information on what you can do to help!
When I received these pictures from friends of 'AnimalArmy', I wondered where to begin to describe what I can see is happening. Leisa's poem (above) sums it up. Leisa has said to me that the longer she knows kangaroos, and she has worked intimately with them for 25 years, the more impressed she is by their intelligence and their capacity to love - "not just their own species, but humans as well." She also says, "When I look into a kangaroo's eyes I see a capacity to analyse."
In contrast to the Canberra male half-buried in mud, the picture at the bottom of this article is of a healthy South Australian animal interacting with a friendly photographer.
 This poem by Leisa Moore, a kangaroo rescuer in South Australia was originally written in memory of 453 Belconnen Kangaroos Killed by the A.C.T. Government in a Kangaroo Management Cull, 2009. Leisa called it, "Message from a Belconnen Kangaroo, 'Reflection In My Eyes'.
Author Margaret Warner has produced a new fun book and guide for teachers and children to learn about an animal that should be celebrated and honoured as endemic to Australia, and one of the world's most recognizable national symbols.
Targeted for ages 7 - 12 years, with all pages photocopy masters suitable for school use. Paddy Weaver writes in support of protests in Canberra against roo slaughters. "I would want to see very strong evidence that roos had done more than contribute to the ecosystem changes. When mankind has spread our pollutants from the Arctic to the Antarctic, I think we need to stop pretending that any environment is unaffected by human activity."
By Dr Paddy Weaver, Biochemist
I have wondered for some time at Canberra's fondness for culling its kangaroos. I know they are probably a different species to our Perth hoppers but the roos here thrive on the golf courses. Initial calls for culling were over ridden by a public outcry. Now golfers and roos coexist quite amicably and have made the courses really popular with Japanese tourists. The trees and bushland "roughs" survive the onslaught of both. Certainly our roos exist in places with no ready access to water, although some on waterless peninsulas or dry coastal areas go close to the water's edge, scoop a shallow hole and drink the brackish water that accumulates.
I would suggest translocating roos to the lawns of Parliament House where I am sure they could graze quite nicely. An emu or two would complete the emblematic significance. Although I am told they are not as bright as roos and take longer to learn to avoid the traffic. But probably the slowest to learn appropriate behaviour (keeping to their own space) would be the people.
The public often relies on ecological opinion, but ecologists do have their limitations. Perth has just discovered that pollutants in our Swan River are causing fish and snails to develop dual sex organs. Years ago when I served on an advisory committee to the Minister for Fisheries I tried to persuade the fishery ecologists to look at endocrine disruptors. No go. They had never heard of these compounds or their effects but got quite a shock when all their colleagues in the Japanese research facilities including the ecologists were directed to work on these exclusively. Goodbye joint projects. Now we have glaring examples of some of the effects of these compounds in Swan river fish. No established link as yet but I make a bet it will come, I may not be around to see it.
Many years ago a colleague working on insects and ecdysone and I swapped our control compounds and bingo, his insects and my plant cell cultures reacted not only to the other's control hormone, but also to a range of human steroid hormones. Not the full response of course, but quite a significant effect.
The steroid receptor appears to have an early evolutionary origin and thus some receptor-hormone binding is found for compounds with this control function from widely ranging species from plants to mammals. Someone else published this before we were ready so we never did. There is no Journal for Reproducible Results.
I am just making the point that ecologists are essentially conservative like most scientists. I will bet the bushland environment that is to be cleared has had windblown spray from herbicides, perhaps steroids from the pill or a host of the synthetic disruptors from plastic fillers etc. in groundwater. I would want to see very strong evidence that roos had done more than contribute to the ecosystem changes. When mankind has spread our pollutants from the Arctic to the Antarctic, I think we need to stop pretending that any environment is unaffected by human activity.
Black cockatoos in Perth have gone from prolific pest to rare and endangered in such a short time span that I hate to see culling of native animals for any reason.
WA has had to try relocating some of the rare and endangered species from our richest and most precious fauna reserve, condemning the rest to extinction. It has sacrificed much of the world's oldest and largest collection of rock carvings at a world monument site and is now about to build a gas hub over the dinosaur footprint trail - all for the economic greed of our political and business leaders.
Perhaps a few protests from Canberra at culling kangaroos would help the general education process.