Kangaroo populations are plummeting: the results of the 2020-21 Aussie Summer Kangaroo Count are in

Kangaroo populations across Australia are plummeting.

Last year, my office ran the Aussie Summer Kangaroo Count, a citizen science project which 661 people across the country took part in.

The results are in, and they paint a bleak picture.

Key Findings:

  • Of the 496 respondents who had kangaroos in their area of residence 10 years ago,84% saw a decrease in kangaroo numbers in the same area within the last ten years (a further 9% reported seeing the same number of kangaroos ten years ago versus the present, with 7% seeing an increase).
  • Of the 417 respondents who said they have seen a decrease of kangaroos in their area over the last ten years, 29% saw the number of kangaroos drop to zero last year
  • There were 64 cases (13% of respondents who saw kangaroos in their area over the last ten years) where kangaroo numbers went from 100-200+ to zero
  • The percentage of people who saw no kangaroos in their residential area rose from 3% ten years ago to 39.9% in 2020-2021
  • The percentage of people who saw over 200 kangaroos in their area fell from 2% ten years ago to 2.1% in 2020-2021
  • Of the 496 respondents that had seen kangaroos in their area over the last 10 years, 68 respondents (14%) saw a mob of 100-200 kangaroos decrease by a hundred or more kangaroos
  • 55% of respondents were from within NSW
  • The survey ran during the summer months of 2020-2021

Comments from survey responders:

“I travel from Goulburn to Canberra as a commuter. I usually see mobs or families of kangaroos out on Lake George and wallabies up in the hills. I have seen only three dead kangaroos all Summer. I have serious concerns at the decline of their numbers and have noted to many people I know the lack of Roos in the area.”

“On our property numbers have plummeted since the Vic Gov pet food trial was implemented , in the last 12 months in particular . We now see signs of Kangaroos in the morning ( droppings) but rare to actually see one or two , compared to last year when we could walk around our property and see many in daylight”

In the last 12 years the numbers have plummeted. This is due to uncontrolled shooting and commercial killing for the petfood industry. There have been no periods of recovery and it appears that the DELWP and State Government don’t care.

“I used to see kangaroos in huge mobs of 50-100 kangaroos in the paddocks near where I live, during my drive to work. Now I’m lucky if I see one on my way to work. Seeing them would make me smile, but now they have disappeared. I know culling occurs in the area and I am afraid that this may be the cause of their decline. Unfortunately, It seems they have been unable to come back from that, which is heartbreaking”

“My area is predominantly farming/coastal land. Our towns population has almost doubled in the last 10 years with housing development. When i was a girl in the 1990’s we’d often see kangaroos passing through the paddocks and the dunes. We had even had a few down main street. As well as quite a regular number on the roadsides.
These days, they’re simply not there. Its very sad.
I’ve seen none alive here, grazing or passing in many years. And since November 2020 have only seen 3 dead in total on the road between X and Y (175km span).”

“I can say anecdotally that an indigenous person living remotely said he now has to travel up to 2 hours to find a kangaroo to hunt”

I have lived in this area for 13 years and there were a few joeys coming into care throughout the winter. I’m a wildlife carer. Now there are hardly any. The drought hit this area pretty hard and then the fires. I’m not sure if there are any mobs left. It is also a kangaroo harvesting area so I’m afraid there will be none left very soon. There were red kangaroos here many years ago but they shot them to extinction. The evidence was found on an old newspaper when the council were asking them to stop shooting the red kangaroos. Now there are none left.

“I was SHOCKED to see no dead kangaroos on the Kings Highway to Canberra. They’re always there, dead and alive but there was just nothing. Same with Sydney. There’s a stretch of road between Batemans Bay and Ulladulla that usually has a number of deceased kangaroos but there was nothing”

“After travelling Australia for the past 4&1/2 years, the decline in Kangaroos in the whole of Australia has been staggering and devastating. I’m shattered that the Kangaroo slaughter is still legal, however, after witnessing so much carnage, it’s mind boggling that any government still allows the filthy, cruel and inhumane Kangaroo trade to continue. I was extremely shocked and heartbroken to see the fencing in NSW but also on the long drive from Longreach to Muttaburra in Qld. It was beyond devastating to see the amount of Kangaroo families trapped on both sides of the 2 lane highway due to the ludicrous fencing to keep GOATS IN, and the poor starving and dehydrated Kangas out. What humans are doing is criminal and needs to be stopped NOW.”

Comments from the Hon. Mark Pearson MLC:

“These figures are deeply concerning, and also align with evidence that was presented at the NSW kangaroo inquiry this year,” Mr Pearson, who was Deputy Chair of the inquiry, said.

“The inquiry revealed disturbing evidence of not only failed welfare legislation, but a lack of transparency and academic rigour related to the counting of kangaroo populations and the setting of killing quotas.”

“The Department responsible for this data performed so poorly at the inquiry they were called back for a second hearing, and even then they could not explain their data, counting methodologies, or even provide the basic reproduction rate of kangaroos.”

“The evidence from the Kangaroo Count and kangaroo inquiry warrant a moratorium on the killing of kangaroos, as well as independent investigation into kangaroo numbers in NSW.”

“We don’t trust the government’s data, not least of all because they have a vested interest in propping the commercial industry up.”

“That’s why we started the Kangaroo Count: we are taking it upon ourselves to find out what’s happening, by getting as many ears and eyes on the ground as possible.”

“I hope these results go some way to educating people, too.  A lot of people don’t even know that kangaroo populations are declining, let alone that Australia kills its own national emblem for profit, fun, and agricultural purposes, and continues to do so after the Black Summer bushfires that misplaced and killed 3 billion animals.”

“And when it comes to the commercial killing, the inquiry has shown us its a secretive, cruel industry that’s woefully unregulated, yet it remains the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world.”


The Aussie Summer Kangaroo Count is running again this year, with residents across Australia invited to take part between December 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. A live link will be posted on December 1.