Council open to exploring other options alongside quote for kangaroo cull

Kangaroos in Cowra's Peace Precinct area.
Kangaroos in Cowra's Peace Precinct area.

In the wake of widespread criticism, Cowra councillors have voted in favour of exploring other options to control the kangaroo population in the Cowra Peace Precinct area, while still seeking a quote to cull 30 of the animals.

It was agreed that, prior to anymore decisions, council would seek information from relevant bodies, such as Bathurst Regional Council, who have had issues with kangaroo numbers in the past, and National Parks and Wildlife, with the findings to be presented at the December council meeting.

However, the decision was not a unanimous one and resulted in a 20 minute debate between councillors last Monday night.

Councillor Judi Smith, who presented the amendment, said she placed human life and safety above that of kangaroos but stressed the need to look at alternatives.

"In terms of a hierarchy of needs, I do put people before kangaroos, that being said, I do acknowledge that we are continuing to encroach on an area that has had kangaroos for a long time," Cr Smith said.

"Most of the people who have provided written comments have been against the shooting of the kangaroos, the three families who I spoke to living in the area, were all appalled that the number was so low and didn't feel that would do any good for their purposes.

"When we take that into consideration, with the fact that the Department of Parks and Wildlife themselves in granting council a Licence to Harm said it may not solve the problem and in fact, could cause disruption to the mob, I feel that we need to explore other options and do that quickly."

However, Councillor Ray Walsh, who voted against the motion, believes there is a growing threat to human life and potential for injury in North Cowra.

"I do wonder what might happen if a child or somebody's dog aggravated that animal because they are getting more and more hungry," Cr Walsh said.

"I am very concerned about Council's liability in this respect if we are seen to not take any action.

"I'm just placing human life, possible human injury against animals, I very reluctantly say this because I've always believed that all animal life should be kept and should be looked after but I feel this is the only answer that council should have in mind."

Councillor Peter Wright echoed Cr Walsh's sentiments, saying he has safety concerns with more kangaroos coming into residential areas.

"They are everywhere and they are getting more closer to the residential areas," Cr Wright said.

"I support Councillor Walsh's comment on the safety side because they are a very attractive animal.. they stand there and look at you with their lovely eyes and people think they can walk up and do something and they just change.

"They're very strong, I've seen kangaroos drown dogs in the dam.

"I'm quite sure if there was a child or an adult injured, we would feel the full force of the law."

Councillor Bill West said there is an issue with kangaroo numbers in the area and council must act.

"It's an emotive argument, there is an issue up there, I think it would be irresponsible of Council to walk away," Cr West said.

"It's a serious issue and we don't take it lightly."

In closing, Cr Smith said she agreed that measures need to be taken to address the issue, however it will not take any more time to seek further information on alternative strategies.

"I think I need to point out that even if, in the end, with the extra information, that we decide we need to cull these 30, we're culling 30 out of approximately 300 so there will still be around 270 left," she said.

"It won't take us any more time because we would have had to come back with a recommendation from the Director [Environmental Services] anyway.

"I think there is nothing to be lost and everything to be gained by looking at all possible options, even if we decide to cull, it may be that there are mitigation strategies that we can put into place based on advice."