Government to maintain kangaroo cull despite bushfires

Despite estimates that over a billion animals have been killed by bushfires, the NSW government has given no indication it will cease commercial kangaroo culling.

A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Planning Industry and Environment (DPIE) told Yahoo News Australia that a significant portion of the fire activity in NSW was in the non-commercial management zone along the coast.

The spokesman noted that commercial harvesting had already been suspended in four areas due to low population densities. 

DPIE will be monitoring fire and harvesting activity within the commercial management zones and will be engaging with commercial harvesters and animal dealers that may operate within the affected zones,” the spokesperson said. 

“Our goal is to ensure that kangaroo populations remain ecologically sustainable.”

Surviving kangaroos group around tents which contain food for the starving animals. Source: Wild2Free
Rae Harvey is treating the survivors of the bushfires on her property near Batemans Bay. Source: Wild2Free

In the fire-ravaged coastal areas, at least two prominent kangaroo sanctuaries have been decimated by the fires.

Sara Tilling from Cobargo Wildlife Sanctuary told Yahoo News Australia that few animals remain alive on her 850-acre property.

“We’ve just lost our only survivor from our mob. I’m not in a great space right now,” she said.

Nearby, Wild2Free near Batemans Bay was also destroyed, but a handful of kangaroos remain and they are being tended to by sanctuary owner Rae Harvey.

Ms Harvey told Yahoo News Australia last week that before the fires she considered the area to be the last stronghold of kangaroos in NSW.

“The fires have gone all the way to the water and they’ve had nowhere left to run,” she said.

“I couldn’t talk to people about it – I just felt their fear, and pain.

“There’s no wildlife left now, we’re killing the last of them.”

MP petitions government to suspend cull

Animal Justice Party MP Mark Pearson told Yahoo News Australia that it’s impossible to have any knowledge yet of how kangaroos have been impacted by the fires. 

NSW MP Mark Pearson treats a kangaroo injured by the bushfires. Source: Animal Justice Party

“Unless a sophisticated aerial count is done, there’s absolutely no way the minister for the environment should allow any slaughter of any kangaroo for any purpose,” he said.

“That doesn’t matter whether it’s commercial, mitigation, or recreational.

“The government should move to ceasing all harm to them.”

Mr Pearson revealed that after assisting with fire-affected animals, he submitted a letter to the NSW environment minister today calling for the kangaroo cull to be immediately halted. 

He noted the Victorian government announced yesterday that it will suspend the commercial cull until authorities could ascertain how wildlife numbers had been impacted by the fires. 

The author, Michael Dahlstrom, is a registered native bird carer.

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