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Battle of the experts at roo cull hearing

Protesters have won a bid to temporarily stave off a kangaroo cull.

Protesters have won a bid to temporarily stave off a kangaroo cull. Photo: Supplied

A tribunal will rule on Wednesday whether a cull of 1455 eastern grey kangaroos can proceed in ACT nature reserves.

The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal heard conflicting expert testimony on Tuesday about how many kangaroos per hectare were ecologically appropriate in local nature reserves.

The Australian Society for Kangaroos had asked the tribunal to overturn a decision by the ACT Conservator of Flora and Fauna's decision to issue licences for the shooting to occur at seven sites.

The group's expert witness, Raymond Mjadwesch, challenged the validity of a figure of one kangaroo-per hectare used by the ACT government in a management strategy.

Mr Mjadwesch said studies showed that between four and five kangaroos per hectare was a more appropriate figure.

"I don't accept that one kangaroo per hectare is valid compared to CSIRO research,'' Mr Mjadwesch said.

ACT government ecologist Don Fletcher, who conducted modelling to devise the one kangaroo figure, said the alternative model used by Mr Mjadwesch was appropriate for farms, not for nature reserves.

"That is what they are referring to: a well-run farm,'' Dr Fletcher said.

Mr Mjadwesch suggested Dr Fletcher had used his own previous research to justify findings. This situation for me is Dr Fletcher backing Dr Fletcher,'' Mr Mjadwesch said.

But Dr Fletcher denied this, saying work from other scientists had also been used in modelling.

Mr Mjadwesch said sufficient kangaroos were needed in grasslands to help create a ''mosaic'' with a variety of grass lengths suitable for the needs of different animals.

Government solicitor Kristy Katavic said Dr Fletcher's evidence should be preferred over Mr Mjadwesch's, saying Mr Mjadwesch had less ACT-specific research experience.

Geoffrey Kennett, counsel for the Australian Society of Kangaroos, said there was no justification for the view that reducing the number of kangaroos in reserves would assist the survival of any particular species.

Tribunal president Bill Stefaniak expressed concern that, despite advice being given by Dr Fletcher to government officials about large kangaroo populations in Wanniassa Hills, no licence had been sought for culling to be conducted there.

Ms Katavic said the tribunal could vary any of the licences.

The tribunal will deliver its decision at 11am.

4 comments

  • Why is the over-population of yobbo's first 'solution' always to grab the guns?

    Commenter
    Mystie
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 9:26AM
    • @ Mystie, these solutions you refer to, are being made by government agencies who consult qualified experts in the science fields...hardly yobbo's..........and it just so happens that the gun is the most appropriate and humane way of reducing the population. Everything from humans needs ( 1000 accidents caused by roo's each year in Canberra) to the needs of the rest of the eco-system ( other, more endangered fauna and flora ) are considered in the decision.
      There is no logical reason that the Gov' would have a vested interest or hidden agenda in this cull - the opponents on the other hand (aus society for Kangaroo's) are an emotive bunch of animal lovers, who have zero ability to look at the bigger picture here?? Their one and only scientist has qeustionable expertise, their surveys are amatuerish at best - I know who I'd be more likely to believe!!

      Commenter
      nj
      Date and time
      July 10, 2013, 11:32AM
  • I think the kangaroos will probably know more about what they find sustainable, since they did roam the land first. .

    Commenter
    las
    Date and time
    July 10, 2013, 9:53AM
    • '1000 accidents each year in Canberra' were caused by speeding vehicles with careless drivers, yet we always blame the victims.
      And of course state government decisions wouldn't have anything at all to do with the Shooters Party would they? (Sarcasm intended.)

      Commenter
      Mystie
      Date and time
      July 10, 2013, 3:13PM
      Comments are now closed

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