A parliamentary question without notice by the Hon Rick Mazza MLC of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party has revealed kangaroo numbers in Western Australia have dramatically increased in four years due to declining harvest numbers of annual quotas.
Red kangaroo population estimates were 1,825,760 last year up from 409,422 in 2014, representing an increase of 345.94 per cent. There were 2,423,800 Western grey kangaroos in 2018 up from 1,246,870 in 2014, representing an increase of 94.39 per cent.
When both species are combined, this represents an increase of 2,593,268, or 156.57 per cent since 2014.
Mr Mazza’s question referred to the Kangaroo Management Advisory Committee, which is convened by the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions. The Committee was formed in the early 1970s and provides stakeholder organisations an opportunity to participate in the future development of the commercial kangaroo industry in WA and presents recommendations to the Minister for Environment.
The Committee’s two main areas of advice are five year management plans and annual quotas for the commercial harvest of kangaroos.
“Estimated kangaroo populations are way up because of a rapidly declining harvest of annual quotas over the last four years. In 2014, 47.9 per cent of the state quota was harvested, and in 2018 only 7.6 per cent of the state quota was harvested,” Mr Mazza said.
“These numbers are not surprising given there are significant issues with excessive kangaroo numbers already in certain areas around the State, if numbers continue to rise there may be serious overpopulation issues over the next few years including environmental and agricultural impacts.”
Recent AAMI Insurance data from March 2018 to February 2019 shows kangaroos make up 83 per cent of all animal car accidents in Australia with almost 8,000 kangaroo collisions in the recorded year.
“AAMI data also reveals Geraldton and Jurien Bay, which are in my electorate, are included in the top animal collision hotspots in Western Australia,” Mr Mazza said.
Rising population levels of kangaroos have already cost WA taxpayers around $220,000 for the relocation and monitoring of western grey kangaroos from a housing development site in south Baldivis, with 60 dying or euthanised during the relocation effort.