Council takes major step towards culling of 30 kangaroos

Council was told "there are no guarantees that this cull will reduce the frequency of traffic incidences." File photo.

Council was told "there are no guarantees that this cull will reduce the frequency of traffic incidences." File photo.

Cowra Shire Council has voted to seek a quote to cull 30 kangaroos in the Peace Precinct, despite advice from a NSW National Parks and Wildlife Services ranger it may not work.

"This cull may cause more distress by disturbing the stability of the mob and there are no guarantees that this cull will reduce the frequency of traffic incidences," Director of Environmental Services Kate Alberry wrote in a council report preceding the vote, summarising advice from a ranger in NSW's National Parks and Wildlife Services.

Furthermore, despite receiving "a number of reports" about kangaroo-related motoring incidents on Binni Creek road, the Director also reported that "research into traffic statistics in Cowra indicates there is little to no evidence of increased traffic accidents relating to kangaroos or wallabies."

While the report acknowledged 100 "serious injuries" occur on average in "NSW per year due to collisions with kangaroos and wallabies," with two deaths in the whole of NSW in 2018 because of such incidents, it wasn't able to "extrapolate" that information for the Cowra Shire.

In contrast, at Monday's meeting, two concerned community members provided multiple accounts involving vehicle and personal safety and kangaroos, with a former police officer also questioning elements of the council's reporting and the currency of its information.

Like multiple councillors, the two men also questioned the limited scope of the current License to Harm that council currently possesses (From mid-October 2019 until mid-January 2020).

The License to Harm the council received was based on a ranger estimate that there were 300 kangaroos in the Binni Creek Road and Peace Precinct area, with a 10 per cent cull approved (equating to 30 kangaroos).

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Ms Alberry noted during the meeting that this was the maximum number allowed by the license and council would have to re-apply for another, which it would be unlikely to receive.

"I note that the current advice from Nationals Parks and Wildlife is they're closing the culls, so it is unlikely that we'll actually get a License to Harm again," she said.

Nevertheless, more than one councillor remarked on the limits, including Cr Ray Walsh.

"It's disappointing to have to come to this arrangement, but I do question whether or not 10 percent or 30 is going have a great effect?" he said.

"As they get hungrier... the elements as dry as it is, some of the roos are becoming - especially the male[s] - are becoming quite aggressive looking; I've encountered them up on the walking track."

Cr Bruce Miller shared a similar sentiment, but made clear his concern that further measures would need to be taken.

"I don't like destroying - indiscriminate destroying - of native animals at all, however I think that there is a good reason for it up there..." Cr Miller said.

"The concern I've got is that we might be putting off the inevitable here, and whether we should be pro-active."

Deputy Mayor, Cr Judi Smith also asked whether further approval will be sought once a quote for the cull is received, but the council's General Manager, Paul Devery, suggested this would be unlikely should the resulting quote be accommodated by the existing budget.