Australians have been encouraged to hunt, cull and eat more kangaroos in response to the animal’s growing population; the population of marsupials is double that of humans at almost 50 million.
In 2010, there were about 27 million kangaroos in Australia. That number has increased to 45 million in 2016, news.com reported. The increase in kangaroos is mostly a result of environmental conditions, particularly the abundance of food caused by high rainfall in Australia.
Experts are now encouraging people to hunt and eat the marsupial, especially because they are seen as pests, according to a publication by the Victorian Department of Sustainability and Environment. The Australian native animal is notorious for damaging fences and crops as well as eating domestic livestock food.
In addition, there have been some reports of the large marsupials being violent toward humans in areas where they have been fed by people.
Garry Hannigan, a local who works at an organic lamb farm near Broken Hill, Churinga Station, told ABC recently, “Two or three weeks ago we had thousands [of kangaroos] on here, just moving through, they were here in droves and the amount that are being hit by cars is amazing.”
“They’re just devouring anything we’ve got grass wise, they’re starting to cause erosion along fences. Any of the grass country is just being pulled up by the roots,” he added.
Ten years ago, the kangaroo population was only 7 million, reduced by years of steady drought. Hannigan predicted that “in the next drought kangaroos are going to die by their millions.”
David Paton, Associate Professor from the University of Adelaide, also agrees that communities should focus on eating more kangaroo meat. “If we’re going to cull these animals we do it humanely, but we also perhaps should think about what we might use the animals that are killed for,” he told ABC. “We shouldn’t just simply leave them out in paddocks to rot or leave them in the reserves to rot.”
Paton warned that a large kangaroo population could also threaten biodiversity. “It’s not the kangaroos’ fault they’re overabundant, it’s probably we’ve just been too reluctant to take a stick to them, remove them out of the system sooner, to actually prevent the damage being caused,” Paton said.