Kangaroos, the poster-animal of Australia, find themselves a topic of controversy due to its massively increasing population. Though adorable, the impact of kangaroos raise the question of whether its destruction on neighboring native species warrants the question of whether it is justified to increase kangaroo control.
Though an area may be protected, the rapid growth of herbivores due to the decrease of predators lead to the massive imbalance of an ecosystem.
According to West Australian Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, the red kangaroo population has (insert hyperlink) increased over 345.94% from 409,422 in 2014 to 1,825,760 in 2018, and the Western Grey population has increased about 94% from 1,246,870 in 2014 to 2,423,800 in 2018 in West Australia alone. Throughout Australia, the numbers are just as gigantic: the graph below depicts the tremendous population growth over the last few years in South Australia.
Ironically, the protected areas are finding themselves lacking the ability to properly maintain biodiversity due to the ecological imbalance of herbivores. Though they lack the threat of human clearing, the herbivores’ rabid consumption still endanger other native species.
In addition to harming the protected areas, farmers find themselves asking “what is the best way to deal with the kangaroo problem?” According to the vice president of the Pastoralists and Graziers Association of West Australia, Digby Stretch, kangaroos should be used for pet and human consumption – thus killing two birds with one stone. Kangaroos cannot be simply fenced off farm land, and make the creation of grazing pastures and the planting of perennial species unrealistic.
Personally, the control of kangaroos seems like a necessity due to the threat it poses on other native species. Even though it may seem inhumane to kill animals of a native species, controlling the kangaroo population better allows the balance to return between the other species instead of leaving the area barren. Extinction rates are rising in Australia, and with it, the solutions must also rise and adapt. Attempting to simply protect a singular species won’t fix an issue with a whole ecosystem. Moving forward, the conservation of biodiversity needs to adapt and evolve along with the specific problems of an ecosystem.
Nice article Brian. I didn’t realize there was an overpopulation of kangaroos in Australia.