Kangaroo populations across Australia are plummeting due to commercial and non-commercial shooting, car strike, and habitat destruction.
For the last two years, the Office of Mark Pearson has run the Summer Kangaroo Count, a citizen science project which hundreds of people across the country have taken part in.
The results of the 2021-2022 count are in, and they paint a bleak picture.
- Of the 296 respondents who had kangaroos in their area of residence 10 years ago, 85% saw a decrease in kangaroo numbers in the same area within the last ten years (this was in line with last year’s figure of 84%); a further 7% reported seeing the same number of kangaroos ten years ago versus the present, with another 7% seeing an increase).
- Versus just 2% of responders saying they did not have kangaroos in their area 10 years ago, 28% of responders reported seeing no kangaroos in the same area this summer
- Over the 2021-22 summer, 28% of responders saw no kangaroos, with a further 27% seeing just 1-5 kangaroos; 10 years ago in the same area, only 3% of responders saw no kangaroos, and a further 10% seeing just 1-5
- 64% of respondents with kangaroos in their area reported seeing over 20 kangaroos 10 years ago, with this number dropping to just 20% of people seeing over 20 kangaroos in the same area this year
- 90% of road users have recently seen fewer live kangaroos while traveling compared to a similar route 10 years ago
- 34% of road users saw no kangaroos on their recent trip, up from 4% saying they had seen no kangaroos on this route in the past
- 56% of road users saw fewer dead kangaroos on their recent trip compared to previous journeys on similar routes in the past
- The survey captured 382 responses
- 45% of respondents were from within NSW, with the remaining 55% of respondents from other states
- The survey ran during the summer months of 2021-2022
Selected comments from respondents:
“More housing has pushed the roo numbers to travel over more fences, the fences erected are not roo friendly either. Roos can’t freely move around causing more to be hit on the road. There’s also been more recreational shooting in the area although they’re not supposed to shoot roos they are regularly doing it”
“The two main reasons for their decline are shooters and vehicles. I moved here in 2000 and it was rare not to see kangaroos on the thirty kilometre drive into town, now it is rare to see any”
“I think a lot of my neighbouring farmers are killing for fun or using the excuse it’s to protect their land”
“Much smaller family groups. Fewer young. And roos appear smaller in size. It’s really worrying. They are also often on their own and that never used to happen.”
“We moved here twenty one years ago although we bought the property 32 years ago. When we first started coming here there where macropods all over… Now there are no sightings of macropods during the day and rarely at night.”
“I always saw kangaroos and wallabies. I have lived in this area for 38 years and regularly saw them but I haven’t seen even one in many months. I also travel to western Queensland quite regularly and used to always see Kangaroos and wallabies both live and hit, but now in a 8 hour drive west lucky to see any”
“Many perish on the road. In a 6 month period I have pulled around 30 from the Highway and surrounding streets. Neighbours shoot them. Also there may have been a cull some time last year as a mob of around 20 that came to My property every day now only has 3 juveniles.”
“Population decline has been massive over last 20 years…devastating… . As a caring person I would always stop to check animals on/by the road. We used to allow an extra 1-2 hours (particularly near a full moon) on a drive towards Brisbane or the coast, you may gave to stop for up to 8 or 10 roos ( or echidna or possums etc). Haven’t had to stop for a long time. Heart breaking. No one would listen when we tried to tell them. No one believed us when we said that in a decade it would be too late. I wish I was wrong”
“When we moved to our 20 acre property 15 years ago we had a regular mob of around 50 to 60 Kangaroos frequent our property. Now I would be lucky to see 6. Victoria is in the grip of increasing quotas for the killing of Kangaroos via the Governments Kangaroo Harvest Program. Overdevelopment is pushing Kangaroos further out of our area.”
“I live in a commercial kangaroo killing zone and in a regional area. My home is on the city edge, and a few km’s from the start of the killing zones. In the 14 years I’ve lived there I have seen a rapidly steady decline in kangaroo numbers everywhere in the Central West. I used to look out my back door and see kangaroos in the paddocks at dusk – I haven’t seen single kangaroo in these paddocks for 5 years now. I used to see kangaroos dead on the side of the road, particularly after a full moon, but have only seen a handful in the last 10 years”
“Rapid decline over last two years. Not one to be seen on our drive to town. Used to see well over 100”
Comments from the Hon. Mark Pearson MLC:
“These figures are a heartbreaking reflection of how out of control the shooting of Australia’s national icon is. These numbers and anecdotes from across the country align with evidence that was presented at the NSW kangaroo inquiry last year, where we learnt that kangaroos are already experiencing localised extinctions, and that shooting kangaroos is inherently cruel and unsustainable.”
“I’d like to thank our survey participants for taking the time to tell us their stories. It’s a truth we must keep telling, before it’s too late. Australia used to shoot koalas by the millions, and look at the dire situation they’ve ended up in. Now we’re doing the same to kangaroos. The shooting must stop.”