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407 joeys culled in pouches

The ACT government killed more than 400 joeys in their mothers' pouches during Canberra's controversial annual cull last year.

In official documents released under freedom of information laws, the Department of Territory and Municipal Services (TAMS) has conceded the official number of 1154 animals destroyed in the conservation cull in May and June last year did not include 407 "in pouch young".

The cull claimed 658 female and 496 male kangaroos in six nature reserves around the capital, including "at-foot" joeys - those old enough to have left their mothers' pouches.

A kangaroo with joey.

A kangaroo with joey. Photo: Orlando Chiodo

Animal Liberation ACT, which leads the annual protests against the cull, accused the government of "keeping quiet" the number of in-pouch young for fear of public backlash.

The cull saw nightly cat-and-mouse chases around the city between cull shooters and animal rights protesters. The government was accused of deliberate animal cruelty and activists of having destroyed predator-proof fences, endangering important conservation projects.

According to the FOI documents, the non-reporting of in-pouch joey deaths is in keeping with licensing conditions for the annual shoot.

TAMS' head of parks and Conservation, Daniel Iglesias, said: ''Every single year we have gone public and we have said 'some of the females are likely to have pouch young', these animals are very good at reproducing,'' Mr Iglesias said.

''The important thing is that we are upfront about those pouch young and make sure we are humane about how we euthanise them. There's no conspiracy theory, we're quite happy to be open about the fact that in every culling year there will be females with pouch young.''

Mr Iglesias said the ACT was the only jurisdiction to limit its culling season, from March to July, in an effort to minimise the  number of  large pouch young present.

Animal Liberal ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said,  “I think they keep quiet about it because for the general population, it’s a little more sensitive to hear about numbers of joeys being killed because most people, generally speaking, empathise with baby animals.”

“But it could  also be partly because they (TAMS) don’t really know the full number of the joeys they kill.

‘‘When it comes to in-pouch joeys it depends on the age, if it’s old enough to be thrown from the pouch or escape from the pouch. They might not know about those when they go through the bodies.”

Ms Drew said she expected the full disclosure of the number of dead joeys to have a greater reaction overseas than locally.

“A portion of the population will be upset about this news, but I still don’t believe that Australians value the kangaroo as much as international people do,” she said. “But I know that that information will make the international stage and that’s where you might hear a lot of the fuss and bother from.”

The activist said she and her group were already beginning to organise their protests against the coming autumn and winter culling season.

“We’re already coming together to talk about the killing season, as I prefer to call it,” Ms Drew said.


  • ... and your point is?
    They were going to die anyway when the mother was culled, stop sensationalizing the issue, joeys are kangaroos too.
    You scream when insurance premiums go up because of kangaroo related accidents, you scream when they are culled to manageable levels, are you people ever happy with any outcome or do you just want the animals to rule the world and we all leave for a galaxy far, far away.
    Perhaps you would do better to pressure the ACT government to build more kangaroo proof fences around the fringing green areas to keep the kangaroos safe and off the roads and out of urban areas, rather than bitching about it when it becomes a problem that has only one possible outcome - people first, kangaroos a distant second.

    Date and time
    March 05, 2013, 8:07AM
    • I am surprised they allowed comment on this article, but I am glad they did because like Bob, I am struggling with the point of it.

      In good times, roos can have one out of the pouch and a joey on the go (sometimes two). It is what they do and it is how they survive in our extreme climate - boost the population in the good times. And the good times are here at the moment.

      I'd revisit the issue that we debated last year during the cull. Why was the meat and skin wasted?

      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 9:33AM
    • Outraged...yes in good times they breed more.... I wonder...

      If there is inadequate food, the development of the joey embryo will be suspended. So it does make me it possible that culling them is potentially ineffective as culling creates less competition for food and so the females will always be breeding at max capacity?

      Totally agreed that the food and skin should not have been wasted.

      And one last point.... our food animals fare much worse than this. At least the kangas get to roam free before they are killed.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 11:50AM
    • It is an animal management issue a little too complex to explore in a newspaper comment response. But Scotland is still going through this with Red Deer numbers - the point there being improved pasture and woodlands have increased numbers to the point they are changing the local environment.

      I view fox control as having an approach we can learn from - if you continue to remove the local fox population the vacuum draws in other foxes from more populated areas. Management of the issue sees a balance in numbers occuring within the birth/death cycle which results in a stable set of numbers and avoids the boom/bust we see too often.

      BTW rabbits are coming back in umbers - where is the article on the failure of the calici virus?

      Outraged of Palmerston
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 12:14PM
    • Oh my goodness, how could anyone have so little regard for life? What an inhumane nasty comment. These animals are beautiful and we should not allow their killing. The public may tolerate the killing of gnarled old grey, but wouldn't come at the killing of a joey: that's why this info is suppressed.

      Kangaroo culling should be banned.

      Well done CT for uncovering.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 2:33PM
    • There must be better ways to live with other animals than shoot the babies. what kind of a species does this? The form of management exposes humanity's lack of intelligence and imagination - a totally botched animal management method on every level possible- need I point out that humans are overpopulated and have destroyed every resource on earth?

      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 10:57PM
  • Would these animal liberation nuts have anything to say if this were a mouse or locust plague? What happens when cane toads eventually make it down here? Some animals really are more equal than others.

    Date and time
    March 05, 2013, 8:38AM
    • Funny you should mention that, recently animal liberationists in the form of P.E.T.A were crowing about getting various institutions and banks from using sticky baits for rats & mice.
      Obviously a slow, presumably painful death by poison bait station for rats & mice is still acceptable to them....but you can bet that they will push for them to be not used.
      One local, long time animal libber was in the local paper (Bungendore Bulletin) the other day saying that feral cats & feral dogs and other ferals have now been around in Australia for so long that they should be considered native animals and went on to say that they don't really kill all that much or do that much damage so should be left alone to breed and prosper and not be hunted or controlled.
      Land management is about making decisions about all sorts of pest animals & plants & its important sensible, experienced minds and science based decisions prevail in doing so with-out silly, ill-informed, mis-guided interference from extremists.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 9:46AM
    • Kangaroos are native animals NOT introduced pests. You can't equate rabbits or cane toads to kangaroos. You seem to be symptomatic of the urge to kill anything that gets in our precious human way. We as Australians should be ashamed that we lead the world in the extinction of our native fauna.

      Rob S
      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 2:05PM
    • Which animal on this earth has destroyed every resource, animal and natural element and which has populated beyond its means? humans.. and btw - name calling is not an argument - but it certainly exposes your fears and insecurities.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2013, 10:53PM

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