The Myth: Kangaroo populations are out of control
The Reality: Kangaroo populations are likely far lower than we have on record
- Claims of rapid breeding and increasing populations are baseless and biologically impossible.
- Kangaroos breed slowly. They don’t reach sexual maturity until they are between one to four years old depending on the breed - and even then environmental conditions can also delay maturity and breeding rates.
- In drought conditions similar to what NSW is facing today, breeding is reduced or even ceases.
- Infant mortality rates for kangaroos are incredibly high, ranging from 50 to 70% due to starvation and predation.
Estimating kangaroo numbers
- Numbers for kangaroo populations in the 15 Kangaroo Management Zones are obtained by estimating the average of how many kangaroos are seen per square kilometre then multiplying this by the number of square kilometres in the zone.
- When calculating population estimates, no attempt is made to account for large areas that are devoid of kangaroos, including towns, industrial areas and farms, increasing the perceived population size of kangaroos within each zone.
- This has lead to the NSW management plan reporting kangaroo population increases that are biologically impossible even under ideal conditions, let alone during a drought.
- For example the NSW government estimates a 60% increase in kangaroo populations in the Northern Tablelands zone, a 50% increase in kangaroo populations in South-East NSW, and a 109% increase in kangaroo populations in the North and South Central Tablelands.
- Kangaroos are now becoming so scarce the commercial industry can no longer meet its quotas.
- Considered the best result in 2018, hunters in Narrabri slaughtered 38, 582 kangaroos - representing only 58% of their government quota.