While kangaroos are an important part of Victoria's natural ecosystems, they require management in some situations.
Kangaroos, particularly the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, are one of Australia's most recognisable and well known native animals. They form an integral part of our natural ecosystems, playing an important role in promoting regeneration of native plants and reducing the fuel load in forests and grasslands.
Kangaroos and wallabies belong to the 'super-family' macropodidae (from the Greek word for 'large foot'). There are nine species of macropodidae family in Victoria. The two main groups are the potoroo species and the kangaroo and wallaby species.
The arrival of European settlers has had a significant impact on macropods in Victoria, through habitat destruction or modification, the removal of predators, and the addition of introduced species like foxes and rabbits. Several Victorian species, such as the Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Western Grey Kangaroo and Swamp Wallaby have drastically increased in numbers due to improved pastures and reliable water sources.
Management of kangaroos
Kangaroos, like all native wildlife, are protected in Victoria under the Wildlife Act 1975. While kangaroos are a protected species in Victoria, there are situations where kangaroos can cause damage which can negatively affect Victorian farmers, regional communities and biodiversity.
Areas with large kangaroo populations can experience issues such as:
- traffic accidents
- damage to pasture, crops, gardens and fences caused by kangaroos
- negative impact on vulnerable native vegetation or areas undergoing revegetation due to kangaroo grazing
- competition for grazing with livestock on farming properties
- kangaroos becoming aggressive towards people, usually when individual animals have regular contact with humans (e.g. become used to being fed by humans).
Authority to control wildlife
DELWP issues Authorities to Control Wildlife (ATCWs) under section 28A of the Wildlife Act 1975 for the control of kangaroos where they are demonstrated to be damaging pasture, crops or other property or impacting on biodiversity values. Any person wishing to control wildlife, including kangaroos, on their property is required to apply for an ATCW.
The management techniques for kangaroo populations include fertility control, fencing, scaring and culling.
These techniques vary in effectiveness depending on the situation and size of the population being managed. Wherever possible, DELWP advocates for the non-lethal management of kangaroos. Where non-lethal techniques are ineffective or impractical, lethal control may be necessary.
Further information on kangaroo management techniques, and how to apply for an ATCW, can be found on Wildlife management and control authorisations.
Management on public land
Kangaroo management is sometimes undertaken on public land to prevent populations from crashing (dying in large numbers from starvation) during droughts, to prevent damage to vulnerable native vegetation and habitat from overgrazing, to allow heavily grazed areas to regenerate, or to exclude them from water catchments for human health reasons.
DELWP and Victorian public land managers have been working together on a new coordinated approach to kangaroo management; providing the public with transparent information regarding the annual control program for kangaroos and the reasoning for it.
The factsheet outlines the 2016 forward plan of kangaroo control across public land.