In the darkness of the night, Australia’s most iconic species is being hunted in the largest commercial slaughter of land-based wildlife on the planet.

It sits atop the Australian flag, and is recognized globally as a quintessentially Australian species; kangaroos are entrenched deeply into the rich fabric of Australian culture. Yet, each night, shrouded in the darkness of the remote Australian outback, these iconic species’ are being maimed and killed. While families of kangaroos graze peacefully in the night, a blinding spotlight from a vehicle will pierce through the darkness, before a flurry of gunshots echoes throughout the bush.


This is a Guest Post by Natalie Kyriacou, Director of the wonderful blog called My Green World


The Overpopulation Myth

The commercial hunting of Australia’s treasured national icon is an embarrassingly cruel chapter in this nation’s recent history. Every year the commercial kangaroo industry kills roughly 1 to 6 million kangaroos for their meat and skins which is distributed globally, and to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle.


This industry continues to profit enormously from the misperception that kangaroos are a hugely overpopulated pest animal, leading the kangaroo to be culled at an alarming rate.


In reality, there is very little evidence to support this “overpopulation” argument.


Kangaroos are a slow-growing, slow-reproducing animal, and their population growth is limited by the fact that females reproduce roughly once per year, and they have a high infant mortality rate, particularly during drought season. Population growth of kangaroos is 3-10% in good years, with up to 60% declines during drought. 





Killing in the Night

The kangaroo industry is grossly underregulated, largely unmonitored. A 2009 report, ‘A Shot in the Dark, A Report on Kangaroo Harvesting concludes that the realities of the kangaroo industry reveal “extensive and alarmingly unhygienic practices, unacceptable suffering of young kangaroos and the manufacture of false hope that kangaroo harvesting will alleviate environmental degradation in rural areas.”


Emotional Lives of the Kangaroo

Kangaroos are extremely social and have been observed to suffer considerable trauma when one of their mob is injured or killed. The large males and females play a crucial role in the cohesion of the mob, as well as the protection of younger kangaroos. When these dominant kangaroos are killed, the mob loses its leaders, causing irreversible long-term damage to the future survival and welfare of the mob.


Ends Justify the Means?

Contrary to popular belief, Australia is not swarming with kangaroos, and should be very careful about blanket statements of plague kangaroo populations, because it certainly does not represent the overall picture. The legitimacy of the justifications presented by kangaroo industry advocates is questionable, at best, with perceptions of kangaroos as a pest species being highly inflated.


Irrespective of widespread propaganda, the fundamental basis for which Australia carries out its night-time slaughter of its most beloved kangaroos is cruel, unnecessary and shrouded in secrecy.


How You Can Help

Australian Society for Kangaroos

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8 Replies to “A Kangaroo Nightmare”

  1. Lori
    I had NO idea this was going on!! Surely there must some group in Ausralia doing some thing about this???

  2. This is so distressing to learn. Why does man continue to destroy the treasure of life…animals. Blessed beings they are, and killed for it. I really can’t stand this here and everywhere on the planet.

  3. I didn’t realize it had become such a huge industry! I have hung out with lots of kangaroos and wallabies and they are so human-like, sweet and sensitive (unless attacked and then they fight like boxers!!) Can’t imagine killing one! What can we do to help bring attention to this horrific slaughter?

  4. This is so disturbing enough to make me vegetarian it always boils down to grazing land for ‘other’ animals that are then slaughtered for our consumption. Thanks as always for alerting us Lori.
    Cape Town trip? xx

  5. This consistent abuse of the precious wildlife due to the greed of many humans, just maddens me. I’m grateful to you, Lori, for being a voice for the voiceless and raising the issue so, hopefully, we humans will become more enlightened, more empathetic and maybe someday those who commit these acts will cease believing they are the almighty.

  6. Lucky you Maya to have hung out with lots of these amazing beings. There is a link at the end of the article to an organization that I believe is doing good work. Also, information is key. Like a few of you mentioned here, you didn’t know about this. Awareness is the first step to change. So, pass this on.Thanks.

  7. Thanks Joanne for your comments. Glad you are part of the tribe here. Things do change but slowly and we don’t have a lot of time due to the pressures on the world’s wildlife and wild places from human population growth. There are ways for all of us beings, human and non-human to share this earth. We just have a lot to learn. I hope this site is one place people can be informed, inspired and connected to keep caring about saving wildlife and wild places across the globe.

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