The Winton Wetlands ecology team have recently been carrying out surveys to determine the need for controlling local kangaroo populations.
Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Black-tailed Swamp Wallabies were surveyed using Line Transect methodology from sunrise to 9:30am when the species were more likely to be active. A total of 65km of transects spread throughout the Winton Wetlands reserve were surveyed on three separate occasions.
- Average of 64- Eastern Grey Kangaroos per survey
- Average of 8 Black-tailed Swamp Wallabies observed per survey
- Kangaroo density of 0.33 per hectare (estimated using conventional distance sampling method)
Based on these results, we estimate the reserve currently holds approximately 3000 kangaroos.
“These densities are less that half of the suggested target density of one kangaroo per hectare for grasslands (ACT Kangaroo Management Plan, 2017) and also below the economic carrying capacity of 0.5 kangaroos per hectare (DEWLP), said Winton Wetlands Restoration Ecologist Dr Lisa Farnsworth.
These results will be incorporated into a Winton Wetlands Kangaroo Management Plan that will detail the following:
- Kangaroo survey methods and results
- Fence removal to reduce road safety concerns
- New vegetation monitoring techniques
- Future student research opportunities
“The survey results, combined with our highly successful revegetation program have lead us to conclude that, from an ecological perspective, active kangaroo control on the reserve is unnecessary at this stage,’ Dr Farnsworth commented.
In addition to the recent survey work, Winton Wetlands, in partnership with the Friends of Winton Wetlands team have commenced the removal of 12km of unnecessary roadside fencing on the reserve. The fencing that is being removed opens the reserve to create a safer path for native species to disperse and will reduce the likelihood of them becoming trapped in the fences or ‘funneled” along the roadway.
On a state-wide scale, the Victorian Government has recently commenced a permanent Kangaroo Harvesting Program to control increasing kangaroo populations. The new programs is administered by the Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and includes strict safeguards to ensure harvesting is carries out at a sustainable level, that animal welfare standards are met and that the livelihoods of farmers are protected. Landowners or harvesters interested in being involved in the Kangaroo Harvesting Program should visit agriculture.vic.gov.au. All enquiries should be emails to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 136 186
Image by Matt Devine