Habitat Ecology News

Kangaroo Cull in ACT

Once again the issue of the culling of our native species hits the headlines. This time in the ACT were the ACT government plans to remove over 2000 kangaroos (The Age May 21st 2012). The issue of culling of wildlife, especially our macropod species, continues to plagues us. When are people going to realise that the decision to cull any species is not made at a whim, it is about maintaining a balance in the environment that has been removed as a result of our actions and intervention. The decision to cull any species is made in the best long term interest of the species. In many case we have two choices: 1:- allow the species to continue to increase in number until the food runs out and they die a slow death from starvation or 2:- cull and maintain a stable healthy population. I know what I would prefer. I respect the position of those that want to save every animal and they certainly have a role to play in ensuring that the authorities undertake the activity of culling in a humane and ethical manner, but are we as with many other issues allowing the minority to dictate to the majority.

If there was another humane way of ensuring that the population of any overabundant species could be maintained at a sustainable level I am sure that those that authorise these events would take it as a preferred option if it was available. However the options are limited and often short lived. Fertility control of many or our species has proven difficult to discover and even more difficult to implement on the scale required to effect substantial change.

I for one would like to see a more permanent solution to this issue as I continually see the impact that overabundant species have on the habitat of not just the species concerned but of the wider flora and fauna community that these species inhabit. Culling as the authorities will (or may be not) admit is a short term solution, but if managed sensibly can be a way to manage populations to acceptable levels while a solution is being developed.

Finally the issue is not going to get any easier if we continue as a species to allow the expansion of our own population into those areas that these species inhabit. I believe that we have two choices: live with them or manage them. Either way we are going to have issues. I guess it comes down to what we are prepared to accept, socially and morally