What are the key changes that have been made to the plan?
What is commercial harvesting?
Commercial harvesting is the humane culling of wild kangaroos by professional shooters. The kangaroo carcasses can then be sold for meat and leather production. Since European settlement, the common kangaroo and wallaby species have increased in abundance due to changes in land use, habitat modification, increased artificial water points and reduced predation. Commercial harvesting is an additional land management option available to landholders to reduce the damage caused by these common kangaroo species on the environment, agricultural and pastoral lands; support kangaroo welfare and reduce the danger to motorists. It also allows for kangaroo carcasses to be used for meat or skin production rather than left on the ground after culling non-commercially.
What does the current management plan enable?
The management plan enables commercial harvesting to take place while ensuring the long-term conservation of the kangaroo species across South Australia. It is based on an adaptive management framework that allows the revision of management practices informed by the best scientific knowledge available and monitoring of kangaroo abundance over time. However, current kangaroo management practices have been insufficient in reducing the kangaroo population across the state and is geared toward the conservation of the species rather than managing the overabundance.
What has changed?
Since 2018, when the current plan was adopted, there has been an unprecedented increase in kangaroo numbers across much of South Australia. Drying conditions have made some impact on the large numbers in the north of the state, but populations remain high in southern regions of the state. Primary producers and regional communities have felt constrained in their ability to manage the overabundance of kangaroos within the current management system.
What is being done to address the issue?
Primary producers, local government, some conservationists and the kangaroo industry are calling for more flexibility in commercial kangaroo management to help land managers reduce kangaroo impacts on agriculture and the environment. The South Australian Government has agreed to embark on creating a new model for commercial kangaroo harvesting across the state. The Department for Environment and Water has worked through a variety of options for how the commercial industry is managed across the state to make sure that we achieve an ecologically sustainable outcome. The draft South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2020-2024 has been developed to present the new management strategies and seek input from interested parties to ensure the best options are selected.
Is anything else changing in addition to the plan?
To enable changes to the commercial kangaroo industry, government must also make amendments to the National Parks and Wildlife (Kangaroo Harvesting) Regulations 2018 to allow the new kangaroo species to be harvested.