ESCAPE: MARIA ISLAND, HANNAH JAMES. Eastern Grey (Forester) Kangaroo family group. Picture: Supplied
ESCAPE: MARIA ISLAND, HANNAH JAMES. Eastern Grey (Forester) Kangaroo family group. Picture: Supplied

Clearing up confusion over roo harvest ban

IN THE wake of mass confusion surrounding a macropod harvesting suspension across southwest Queensland, the Department of Environment and Science has clarified which local government areas will be affected by its rule change, slated for 2020.

In a statement, a DES spokeswoman said the Maranoa and Balonne shires would still be able to harvest kangaroos, with the suspension only applying to councils situated further west – classified as being in the central zone south.

“The Central zone south covers the shires of Bulloo, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie,” she said.

“The closures will affect the shires of Barcaldine, Barcoo, Blackall-Tambo, Flinders, Longreach, McKinlay, Richmond, Winton, Bulloo, Murweh, Paroo and Quilpie.

“The closures will not affect Maranoa and Balonne shires.

“Central Zone consists of three regions, Central Zone North, Central Zone South and Central Zone East.”

Updated macropod harvest map from the Department of Environment and Science.
Updated macropod harvest map from the Department of Environment and Science.

The decision to suspend the harvesting of three species in parts of the central zone was made after population estimated dropped below a trigger point – calculated as 1.5 or 2 standard deviations below the long term average, depending on the species.

In the central south zone, those numbers are 665,524 for red kangaroos, 150,565 for common wallaroos, and 560,441 for eastern grey kangaroos.

“For commercial harvests, quota trigger points are set in the Federal Government’s Wildlife Trade Management Plan (WTMP), which is required under Commonwealth legislation to allow export of kangaroo meat,” the spokeswoman said.

“This plan sets out population trigger points in relation to harvest quotas for macropods.

“When the numbers of macropods drops below the trigger point, harvest quotas are reduced or the harvest is suspended.

“As severe drought conditions have affected the population of some kangaroo species, quotas have been adjusted in some areas for commercial harvesting activities during the 2020 harvest period.

“Due to the ongoing drought, populations of the red kangaroo, the common wallaroo and eastern grey kangaroos have declined in the central zone south and central zone north. “Macropod populations in Queensland depend on pasture availability, and declines in macropod populations are a natural occurrence that follows drought periods.”

In the central zone south, all three populations dipped below their trigger points.

Right now, the estimated populations are significantly below the aforementioned trigger points, with red kangaroos totalling 580,100, common wallaroos totalling 89,950, and eastern greys totalling 342,000. While the numbers have lowered and the suspension is in place for harvesters, the department also clarified the suspension will not affect landholders, who will still be allowed to manage kangaroos on their land through the Damage Mitigation Permit process.


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