MEDIA RELEASE: kangaroo populations plummeting, citizen science project shows, as Animal Justice Party MP calls for a moratorium on killing


The results of the 2020-2021 Summer Kangaroo Count, a citizen science project running out of the office of NSW Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party Mark Pearson, has revealed:

  • Of the 496 respondents who had kangaroos in their area of residence 10 years ago, 84% saw a decrease 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).
  • The percentage of people who saw no kangaroos in their residential area rose from 13.3% ten years ago to 39.9% in 2020-2021
  • The percentage of people who saw over 200 kangaroos in their area fell from 7.2% ten years ago to 2.1% in 2020-2021
  • 55% of respondents were from within NSW
  • The survey ran during the summer months of 2020-2021 and recorded 661 individual responses
  • More stats here

“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.”

Mr Pearson said the evidence from the Kangaroo Count and kangaroo inquiry warrant a moratorium on the killing of kangaroos, as well as an 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,” Mr Pearson said.

“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.”

The Summer Kangaroo Count is running again this year, with residents across Australia invited to take part between December 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022.

Mr Pearson said he hopes the program will serve as an educational tool, 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, and continues to do so after the Black Summer bushfires that misplaced and killed 3 billion animals,” Mr Pearson said.

“It’s a secretive, cruel industry and it’s largely unregulated, yet it’s the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife in the world.”

Kangaroos are “harvested” for their meat and hide, both of which are sold domestically and internationally as pet food, shoes, and other goods.

As well as being slaughtered for commercial purposes, kangaroos are killed across NSW and beyond for “recreation”, agricultural purposes, and through the use of exclusion fencing.


Media contact:
Elena Wewer – 0428 444 132

Mr Pearson is available for comment.