Red kangaroos in the Mid-North region of South Australia are being hunted to extinction to supply meat, body parts and skins to a commercial industry.
In 2017, the Department for Environment and Water (DEW) estimated the red kangaroo population in the Mid-North as 31,136. A year later, in 2018, DEW estimated the red kangaroo population in the Mid-North to be 6,227 – a massive decline of 80%.
The most likely reason for the decline was drought. The Mid-North was in drought from 2017 to 2021. Joey mortality is 100% during drought. Therefore, red kangaroo populations cannot increase through reproduction.
The massive decline of 80% meant that the density of red kangaroos in the Mid-North fell from 3.8 kangaroos per square kilometre to 0.76 kangaroos per square kilometre. A scientific report called Kangaroo Management Options in the Murray-Darling Basin (Hacker et al, 2004) states that although the critical minimum density is not clearly defined, populations below 2 kangaroos per square kilometre would generally be considered at risk of extinction.
As of 2018, red kangaroos in the Mid-North were scientifically considered at risk of extinction.
Nevertheless, the commercial slaughter of red kangaroos in the Mid-North continued. The number of red kangaroos DEW permitted to be killed in 2018 to supply the commercial industry was 5,200 which is 84% of the entire population. Fortunately, the actual number of red kangaroos killed in the Mid-North during 2018 was 692.
In 2019, DEW set a quota of 1,000 red kangaroos for the commercial industry to kill to supply meat, body parts and skins. However, in 2019, the actual number of red kangaroos killed in the Mid-North by the commercial industry was 2,094, double the quota and 34% of the entire population.
The population of 6,227 declined by 692 in 2018 and 2,094 in 2019, meaning the population would be 3,441 in 2020. Reproduction was impossible due to drought.
In 2020, rather than admit that red kangaroos in the Mid-North were at risk of extinction and suspend the commercial killing, DEW expanded the Mid-North region to include Yorke Peninsula. The new Yorke Mid-North region had a red kangaroo population of 8,942, which means the expanded population was still at risk of extinction with a density of 1.16 kangaroos per square kilometre.
Commercial hunters weren’t allowed to kill any red kangaroos in the Yorke Peninsula due to a zero quota. The entire 1,500 kill quota for 2020 was placed on the dwindling population in the Mid-North.
In 2020, DEW was willing to sacrifice 44% of the red kangaroo population in the Mid-North to supply meat, body parts and skins to the commercial industry, most of which is sent overseas to foreign countries.
In 2021, DEW recorded the density of red kangaroos in the Yorke Mid-North to be 0.4 kangaroos per square kilometre. The percentage of red kangaroos allowed to be killed by the commercial industry increased from 17% to 20%, which is 1,400 red kangaroos.
Increasing the percentage of “at risk of extinction” kangaroos to be killed is unsustainable and reprehensible.
In 2020, the estimated population of red kangaroos in the Mid-North was 3,441 (based on above calculations). The 2020 and 2021 commercial kill quotas add up to 2,900 or 84% of the population.
DEW is supposed to set thresholds to ensure the commercial killing of kangaroo populations is sustainable. Yet, red kangaroos at risk of extinction in the Mid-North are being killed at percentages even higher than scientists recommend. Where is threshold 1, which reduces the quota to 10%? Where is threshold 2, which suspends the killing?
As of 2020, threshold 1 was 0.19 red kangaroos per square kilometre and threshold 2 was 0.11 red kangaroos per square kilometre. Therefore, red kangaroos must be extinct in the Mid-North before the kill quota will be reduced to 10%.
Please sign and share these petitions:
Red kangaroos in the Mid-North region of South Australia are being hunted to extinction to supply meat, body parts and skins to a commercial industry. The petitioners demand an independent inquiry into the mismanagement of kangaroos in South Australia. In the meantime, as a matter of urgency, we demand that the SA Government place a 5-year moratorium on the killing of kangaroos in the Mid-North of South Australia. Please click on the image to sign the petition.
We call upon the South Australian Government to revoke any Permit or Permits to remove, destroy, “cull” or “harvest” kangaroos for either local or international trade in kangaroo body parts and flesh. Please click on the image to sign the petition.