ACT News

Polar marathon to fund kangaroo contraception

ALPHADOG director Marcus Fillinger will embark on a two-part North Pole expedition series in 2015-16 to raise money for animal welfare projects and increase awareness of the ACT Government's kangaroo culls.

Mr Fillinger announced last week Alphadog would offer the government an alternative to future culls by volunteering to administer a fertility program that would help control the kangaroo population.

Alphadog director Marcus Fillinger will embark on an expedition to the North Pole in support of animal welfare projects.
Alphadog director Marcus Fillinger will embark on an expedition to the North Pole in support of animal welfare projects. Photo: Supplied

Mr Fillinger is expected to meet Minister for Territory and Municipal Services Shane Rattenbury on Tuesday to talk about the proposal.

The offer, to tranquillise kangaroos and administer the fertility drug deslorelin via an implant under the skin, has been backed by the Regional Friends of Wildlife group.

RFW spokesman Phillip Machin said the group believed kangaroo populations could reach a natural balance if left alone, but given the likelihood of another cull, other alternatives should also be considered.

''The Regional Friends of Wildlife agrees that using birth control pills is an option, as is translocation and it would be worthy of a trial,'' he said.

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''Our position is that in the Canberra Nature Park the culling of kangaroos is simply unnecessary.

''There is no evidence that kangaroos have a negative impact on biodiversity or threatened species.''

Alphadog has volunteered to bear much of the cost of the program, with the government asked to pay only the cost of the deslorelin drug.

Mr Rattenbury has said he would consider the proposal seriously.

Mr Fillinger will be accompanied on his North Pole expedition by the under-ice free-dive world champion Christian Redl of Austria. Mr Fillinger will assist Redl by acting as a safety diver during Redl's attempt to break his own ice diving record.

After the ice dive expedition Mr Fillinger will undertake a 42-kilometre North Pole marathon, supported by Richard Donovan, founder of Extreme Marathons.

''I am seeking individual and corporate sponsors willing to donate,'' Mr Fillinger said.

''My aim is to raise $1000 per kilometre and these funds will directly fund the rescue and relocation of the hundreds of kangaroos treated through my charity every year.

"The cost associated with running the charity is enormous.

''The specialist work we do is essential and as a registered not-for-profit organisation, we are entirely dependant on donations.''

The second leg of the two-part expedition will take place in 2016 when Redl and Mr Fillinger will attempt a joint ice dive at the magnetic North Pole.

■ More information: www.alphadog.com.au/donate