An ACT government pledge to hold a fertility control trial for up to 500 kangaroos alongside the yearly cull appeared to be in tatters last night, with Environment Minister Simon Corbell saying no offers had been made and there was no time frame for it to be carried out.
The government wanted to proceed with the cull last Wednesday night but it has been delayed by court action until at least Tuesday.
In a media statement released by Greens minister Shane Rattenbury on May 14, titled ''Trial fertility control project to assist in kangaroo population management'', Mr Rattenbury stated that "alongside the yearly conservation cull of eastern grey kangaroos this year one site will be made available for a potential fertility control trial of up to 500 kangaroos''.
But Mr Corbell appeared to contradict that, stating the cull and the trial were not connected.
He said, despite Mr Rattenbury telling The Canberra Times on May 14 that the government was working through details of the trial with animal rights group Alphadog which had proposed tranquilising the kangaroos and administering the contraceptive Deslorelin, there was no offer on the table for the trial to be done by that group.
"It is not an offer [to animal charity Alphadog],'' Mr Corbell said.
"It's a willingness to discuss the offer with Alphadog. The government would need to go through a tender process like it would for any other process. Whether it would be Alphadog or another group [to do the trial] is yet to be determined.
"They are not connected [the cull and the fertility control trial]. We would have to determine how to procure the services.
"The government is willing to have discussions with Alphadog but there's no clear time frame for this trial.''
The cull has been fiercely criticised by the NSW Greens, Regional Friends of Wildlife, Animal Liberation ACT, Alphadog and the Centre for Compassionate Conservation at the University of Technology Sydney.
Director of the Centre for Compassionate Conservation Dr Daniel Ramp said there was a definite need to rehabilitate ACT grasslands, but culling was not the answer.
"First of all it's not kangaroos to blame for the destruction of those ecosystems and there is no credible science that kangaroos are responsible for threatening endangered species populations,'' he said.
"In the five years since the ACT has been culling kangaroos in these reserves there's been no improvement or measurable improvement in any conservation goal that's been mentioned.
"There's a complete disconnect between the policy and what the policy says it's about and whether it's being achieved.''
Alphadog founder Marcus Fillinger said fertility controls for kangaroos were proven and a trial, if carried out properly, would be a success.
"If it goes out to tender let's hope it goes out to interested and competent groups rather than the people who are guns for hire who have abhorrent mortality rates when it comes to tranquilising animals,'' he said.
"I hope this tender goes out to rescue groups with specialist skills in remote capture and administration of fertility drugs.''
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