More than 1500 kangaroos will be killed as the ACT government's culling program returns, with some of the carcasses set to be sent to a wildlife sanctuary as food for endangered animals.
Six nature reserves will be closed overnight from Sunday, and will close each evening from Sunday to Thursday until August.
ACT Parks and Conservation Service director Daniel Iglesias said the service was confident the cull of 1568 Eastern Grey kangaroos would manage grazing pressure.
"Nobody likes shooting kangaroos, however we accept it's the most humane method of kangaroo population management currently available to the ACT government in its role as a responsible land manager," Mr Iglesias said.
Nature reserves at Mount Ainslie, Mount Majura, East Jerrabomberra Grasslands, Farrer Ridge, Goorooyarroo and Mulligans Flat Woodland Sanctuary will close.
The reserves will remain open during the day and from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon.
Warning signs will be placed at all entry points to the reserves, while surveillance cameras and patrols will be used in efforts to protect the public's safety, the Parks and Conservation Service said.
Mr Iglesias said kangaroos were an integral part of Canberra's ecosystems, but the cull was vital for maintaining the environment in the nature reserves.
"Research demonstrates that overgrazing by kangaroos, particularly in critical conservation areas, can threaten the survival of local grassland sites and species as well as cause erosion and promote weed infestations," he said.
Mr Iglesias said the ecosystem remained fragile despite above-average rainfall.
"Where kangaroos remain above sustainable numbers we must continue to manage their populations to reduce grazing pressure and help our nature reserves maintain resilience against the effects of climate change now and into the future," he said.
"However, because of the rainfall, a number of priority sites where sustainable kangaroo numbers have been maintained over the past few years now require little or no further management in 2021."
Mr Iglesias said several hundred carcasses from the cull would be sent to a wildlife sanctuary to help rear endangered Australian animals.
"What we want to do is get to a point where 100 per cent of the animals that we cull, we can reuse in some way," he said, acknowledging previous criticism that the culling program wasted carcasses.
"We've reached out to a number of businesses and we think that in the years to come, it's actually a worthwhile target to try and reuse all the carcasses. We've made good headway this year, we hope we can improve on it again next year."
More than 1900 kangaroos were targeted in last year's cull, which was delayed while an ecological assessment was made on whether the cull was required in the wake of the previous summer's bushfires.
Mr Iglesias said kangaroo populations in urban areas were distinct from kangaroo populations in nearby national parks, where many animals perished in bushfires.
"This particular cull doesn't touch Namadgi kangaroos, nor does it touch Tidbinbilla kangaroos or even the kangaroos that live in the Murrumbidgee corridor," he said.
"These are urban kangaroos. These are kangaroos that are living on these islands that are in the urban footprint, and that are effectively living a life where they have no natural predation."
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