More than 1500 kangaroos shot during ACT government cull
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More than 1500 kangaroos shot during ACT government cull

Animal rights campaigners have held a mock funeral for the more than 1500 kangaroos killed as part of this year's ACT environmental cull.

A small group of activists gathered outside the Legislative Assembly on Friday afternoon, leaving flowers and a gravestone for the animals, killed as part of controversial efforts to protect native grasslands and woodland sites which the government says are threatened by overgrazing from eastern grey kangaroos.

Protest: Anti-kangaroo cull protesters have left flowers and a headstone in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Protest: Anti-kangaroo cull protesters have left flowers and a headstone in front of the ACT Legislative Assembly. Credit:Jeffrey Chan

Shooters had sought to cull 1606 kangaroos in eight nature reserves around the ACT, with eight nature reserves and associated parkland closed since June 16.

As has become a regular feature of ACT politics in recent years, the shoot was threatened by a legal challenge brought by ACT Animal Liberation.

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"Massacre": Protestors left handwritten notes with the flowers.

"Massacre": Protestors left handwritten notes with the flowers. Credit:Jeffrey Chan

ACAT upheld the conditions of the government's shooting licenses and allowed the cull to go ahead, leading to vandalism and protests while the shooting was ongoing.

Parks and Conservation director, Daniel Iglesias, said the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal challenge to the cull and bad weather had significantly reduced the window for shooters to work.

Protesters said this week they had been out every night of the cull at five reserves.

“A total of 1519 kangaroos have been culled as part of the ACT Government’s ongoing program to protect these grassland and woodland sites from overgrazing,” Mr Iglesias said.

“An additional 514 pouch young, the majority of which were very small and unfurred due to the timing of the cull, were also killed."

The ACT's chief veterinary officer audited 21 per cent of animals killed during the cull to ensure they had been treated humanely.

Mr Iglesias said auditing results demonstrated 100 per cent compliance with the relevant code of practice.

“We also used over 10 per cent of the culled kangaroos to make baits to use in our wild dog and fox control programs,” he said in a statement.

“Ensuring the grasslands and woodlands are not overgrazed will help to protect our grasslands and woodlands, which provide habitat for creatures such as lizards and ground-feeding birds, and will avoid excessive soil loss whilst still maintaining sustainable numbers of kangaroos."

The reserves, including the Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Goorooyarroo Nature Reserve, Jerrabomberra Grassland West Nature Reserve, Kama Nature Reserve, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, Mulanggari Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, and the Pinnacle Nature Reserve have reopened to the public.

Territory and Municipal Services minister Shane Rattenbury said this week there was no progress on a plan to use fertility control to limit the number of kargaroos in the nature reserves.

Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew said on Friday she was pleased activitsts had seen the shoot called off on one night at the Pinnacle Nature Reserve.

"More than 1500 kangaroos have been killed which is completely unnecessary," Ms Drew said.

"It is sad that we can't stop the shooting the way that we would like to but at the same time, for us going onto the reserves and trying to stop the shooting is making a statement to the government that they're not killing numbers in a formula or objects on a screen.

"They are actually killing sentient persons. We confer the status of personhood to the kangaroos by being out there and that's important becuase there are families being destroyed."

Ms Drew said the group's activities would continue between now and culling in 2015, as housing development and drivers on territory roads continued to threaten kangaroos.

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