Kangaroo harvesting to expand to the South East?

PROPOSAL: Will the SA Government extend the commercial harvest zone to include the South East?
PROPOSAL: Will the SA Government extend the commercial harvest zone to include the South East?

The SA Government will consider extending the commercial harvest zone to include the South East, as they look at new kangaroo control measures.

The State Government is also proposing to increase the number of species that can be harvested.

The Marshall Liberal Government has already committed $25,000 to a three-month pilot program to increase landholder participation in commercial kangaroo harvesting. Managed by Livestock SA, the pilot is expected to commence this month.

Up to 10 landholders, whose properties are being impacted by high kangaroo populations and are in commercial harvest zones, will be supported to become licensed kangaroo field processors.

Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said if the pilot is successful, the State Government plans to implement a broader program.

"This is a great example of government and industry working together to assist farmers battling drought conditions and provide off-farm income opportunities" said Minister Whetstone.

"The proposed changes will support primary producers, local government and the commercial kangaroo industry better manage overabundant kangaroos, and provide further opportunities to use kangaroos for meat or skin production."

Department for Environment and Water Chief Executive Officer John Schutz said the current kangaroo management plan was adopted in 2018, but high kangaroo numbers have prompted a review.

"We are suggesting that the commercial harvest zone be expanded from South Australia's pastoral area to also cover the South East, Yorke Peninsula, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu Peninsula and Kangaroo Island," said Mr Schutz.

"We are also proposing to include more kangaroo species in the commercial harvest. We are looking at species which are not threatened and have increased in abundance and distribution during the past decade.

"Surveys will be conducted to determine population estimates for each species in each harvest sub-region so that quotas can be set before kangaroos are harvested. This will ensure that populations are managed sustainably."

Aerial surveying will take place over the South East in the coming weeks to estimate kangaroo populations in the area.

Environment Department spokesperson Anthony Freebairn said a survey was last carried out in the Upper SE in 2011, as part of a trial kangaroo harvest program. No survey has been done over the Lower South East previously.

"There is no comparison (for the Lower SE). We hear from general community feedback, local government and landholders that kangaroo populations have been increasing in the last 20 years, so this will allow us to put some numbers around that," Mr Freebairn said.

Community input is now being sought on the draft South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan via a survey.