By Veronica Buck
Residents in Perth’s southern suburbs have resorted to carting in water to care for kangaroos displaced by a residential development as debate flairs over the animals’ fate.
- The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions gave the land developer approval for the cull
- It rejected an earlier application to shoot the kangaroos on site
- Opponents of the cull are calling for alternatives to killing the animals
It is understood about 100 western grey kangaroos on Paramount Estate in Baldivis are scheduled to be tranquilised and euthanased this year, after the move was approved by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DCBA)
The Department rejected an earlier bid by developer, Spatial Property Group, to shoot kangaroos on site.
Lance Allegretta from the Save the Baldivis Roos Facebook group said he had been taking water to the site for the past three months because the animals were parched.
“It’s pretty sad. It’s not the most ideal conditions for them hence why we are putting water out on the perimeter,” he said.
“As soon as you put the water out they come running down.
“Right now the issue at hand is to get the decision reversed because they are not overpopulated and they are not causing any damage, and they’ve [the DBCA] signed the papers for them to be culled.”
Baldivis MP Reece Whitby said the situation should never have gotten to this point.
“Kangaroos obviously need a certain area in which to sustain themselves to survive,” he said.
“They need access to food and water, and as this estate is being developed those resources are being taken away, so it’s incredibly distressing.
“No-one likes to see these kangaroos suffer, and their possible fate of being tranquilized and euthanased is certainly something that no-one wants to see either.
“It’s simply a situation that never should have occurred.”
In a written statement, the Department said its wildlife officers visited the site on Friday in response to residents’ concerns kangaroos were trapped without sufficient food or water.
“Wildlife officers were satisfied that the kangaroos had sufficient feed and were able to move across one boundary of the property, allowing them to seek refuge and resources elsewhere,” the statement said.
“Supplementary water had been provided and the licensee was encouraged to continue providing this resource.”
Call for alternatives to cull
Mr Allegretta called for the kangaroos to be moved to safer, protected land.
“Or whatever the DBCA can come up with which is a better alternative than just killing the kangaroos,” he said.
The Department said the developer was responsible for preparing appropriate strategies to take or disturb the fauna, and the DBCA provided advice.
“Relocation of large numbers of kangaroos can result in poor animal welfare outcomes, as the areas into which they are placed already have kangaroo populations that are using the available resources,” the department said.
“The relocation process itself can also cause stress to the animals, which can result in their death.”
Mr Whitby conceded it was a complex situation.
“Ideas about herding them out the area and pushing them down further south is very problematic too because you have kangaroos in a built-up area getting onto roads, endangering cars being a danger to themselves as well,” he said.
“It’s very tricky and very problematic and very dangerous to try and undertake a move.”
Native wildlife versus urban development
Mr Whitby called for a fundamental change to the way land was developed in Western Australia in places where native wildlife was present.
“I think we need to do something about this … before we get to this critical situation where you have kangaroos boxed in by the community around them,” he said.
“Developers who purchase land for future development need to make this their first priority, and not leave it until the last minute when areas are being built out around that land and the kangaroos … face having to be euthanased.
“Indeed you have had some success stories across Western Australia where kangaroos do co-exist.
“You’ve just got to plan it a bit better, you’ve got to create more natural vegetation reserves, you’ve got to have wildlife corridors through urban areas where kangaroos and wildlife can move.
“It requires more planning, but it is possible.
“We really need to change this idea that you just bring in the bulldozers and flatten everything, and the wildlife has just got to fend for itself. It’s really an idea from yesteryear.”
Mr Allegretta said the issue had affected local residents emotionally.
“I think that what needs to be done right now is to put the pressure on the DBCA with emails and phone calls so they reverse the decision,” he said.
“I think that’s all we can do at the moment unless we take matters into our own hands, which is not what we want to do.”
An online petition has so far attracted thousands of signatures.
The developer has been contacted for comment.