Victoria has signed off on a plan to increase the number of kangaroos legally killed in the state by a third, in a move criticised by animal welfare advocates.
The Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action has released a report on the state’s commercial kangaroo harvesting program and “authority to control wildlife” permit scheme.
It recommends the number of grey kangaroos culled for harvesting of their meat increase to 166,730 for 2023, up 30% from last year.
The number of permits handed out to landholders to shoot kangaroos on their property is set to rise by 19% to 69,600.
In total, the overall quota of kangaroos to be culled has increased by 27% – from 185,850 in 2022 to 236,350 in 2023.
The increased quota was derived from aerial surveys in September and October last year within the state’s seven kangaroo harvest zones.
From those, the statewide grey kangaroo population was estimated at 2.4 million with the recommended cull target set at 10% of the total.
“The abundance of grey kangaroos within the non-forested parts of Victoria has increased by approximately 24% compared with that reported from the 2020 aerial survey, with notable increases in the point estimates evident in five of the seven harvest zones,” the report said.
“This increase has been most likely due to the mild and moderately wet conditions experienced in Victoria over the last two years.
“The increase in the population of grey kangaroos has resulted in an increase in the total allowable take of kangaroos.”Newly elected Animal Justice party MP Georgie Purcell said kangaroos have suffered from natural disasters such as flooding over the past 12 months.
“It is completely remiss of the Victorian government to accept a population report that does not include this at all,” she said.
“We don’t know how many kangaroos have been lost in unprecedented flooding across Victoria, and yet the government has approved a 27% increase.”
AAP has contacted the department for comment.
This article was first published by The Guardian on 4 January 2023. Lead Image: The number of grey kangaroos killed for harvesting of their meat in Victoria will increase by 30% this year. Photograph: Mark Graham/AP.
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