Kangaroo cull licence allows for 5000 to be killed
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Kangaroo cull licence allows for 5000 to be killed

The licence authorising the ACT Government's latest kangaroo cull allows for the shooting of 5000 animals over two years, including in reserves close to residential areas in central Canberra.

Issued on April 14 by the government's Conservator of Flora and Fauna, the "licence to kill" authorises the shooting of no more than 2500 mixed sex species during a single yearly culling season and permits shooting in a series of new nature reserves including at Mt Ainslie, Aranda, Mt Majura and Jerrabomberra West.

The ACT's kangaroo cull will begin at the end of the month

The ACT's kangaroo cull will begin at the end of the month

A copy of the licence released to the Australian Society for Kangaroos shows it permits culling activities this year and in 2016 "for damage mitigation actions to maintain grassland conservation densities of eastern grey kangaroos".

"In particular to achieve a grazing regime favourable for the conservation of grassland and woodland ecosystems, including small animals that frequent ground layer vegetation."

The government's environmental justification for the shooting is disputed by a range of animal rights groups. Last week it was announced that marksmen will kill 2466 kangaroos between April 30 and July 31.

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This year kangaroo culling will take place at Callum Brae on Mugga Lane; Crace, Goorooyarroo, Gungaderra and Mulanggari in Gungahlin; Kama and the Pinnacle near Hawker; Mount Painter near Cook, and Wanniassa Hills.

A Territory and Municipal Services Directorate spokesman said the other locations listed on the licence may see culling take place next year, depending on the results of government-commissioned kangaroo counts and environmental assessments.

Both Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve and the Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserve have been included in previous culling activities.

As part of the licence provisions, an official report on the cull effort must be provided to the conservator, detailing the number of eastern greys killed, including numbers of pouch young and the number used for production of baits.

Shooters must ensure there is no evidence that members of the public could be present in the areas before beginning their work, expected to be between 3pm and 7am each day. Shooters are warned that cars, bikes or other transport could be signs of people in the area.

With no ACT Civil and Administrative Appeal Tribunal imminent, the two-year licence could see the culling program go unchallenged until at least 2017.

Wildlife advocate and independent candidate for the ACT Legislative Assembly Marcus Fillinger said he would launch a Supreme Court challenge if a senior lawyer took on the case.

Mr Fillinger, a tranquilliser firearms instructor, said previous ACAT challenges have shown the government's justification is not valid.

"Word should go out if there are any Queen's Counsels out there willing to do a pro-bono. With the information and evidence from last year's ACAT hearing, there would be enough to go to the Supreme Court and hold these people accountable," he said.

"This garbage needs to stop."

Australian Society for Kangaroos president Nikki Sutterby said the ACT government was not being completely honest with the public.

"They plan to kill 5000 eastern grey kangaroos and their joeys under this current permit, not 2400 like quoted in the media," she said.

"The kangaroos have endured almost a decade of annual slaughter in their so called nature parks and on ACT defence land in the name of science, but the truth is that they have no robust science to support these annual kills and nor have they conducted any studies in the parks to show the effects of their killing programs."

Ms Sutterby compared the shooting of kangaroos, an animal synonymous with Australia, and the bludgeoning of joeys to decades of Japanese whaling activities, the killing of dolphins and the killing of thousands of harp seal, permitted by the Canadian government.

Tom McIlroy is a political reporter for the Financial Review in the federal press gallery at Parliament House.

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