DESPITE oversight by government agencies, there are fears that kangaroos could quickly become extinct on the Mornington Peninsula.
Landowners and property managers on the peninsula are being issued with licences to shoot kangaroos, but no checks are made to ensure that only the specified numbers are killed.
Seven of the 16 kangaroo species found in Victoria 150 years ago are now extinct.
Cr David Gill, who was able to persuade his fellow councillors to ask the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)for details about eastern grey kangaroo numbers on the peninsula, says he can remember a time when wild wombats and emus lived on the peninsula.
The department sees the peninsula as being part of Gippsland when it comes to estimates of kangaroos numbers and the issuing of “cull” licences, which stipulate that the animals must be shot.
Animal activists want the peninsula to be classified as part of Melbourne, which would exclude it from the state government’s rules allowing for kangaroos to be “harvested”.
Moves to stop the slaughter of kangaroos in Australia has also spread overseas, with two US congressmen trying to get support to stop kangaroo skins being used in the production of sports shoes.
“The wombats and emus are now all gone, shot because they were considered pests,” Cr Gill told The News. His list of possible local extinctions includes animals, birds and insects.
“Once plentiful native bees are now seldom seen, mainly because of broad spectrum spraying,” Cr Gill said.
“Our beautiful bandicoots? Very difficult to find, often victims of poisoning. Koalas are diminishing because of loss of habitat, dogs and koala-proof fencing.”
He said small native birds were “disappearing” because of introduced birds and colonising noisy minors.
Other creatures he feared could soon be added to the “disappearing” or extinct list were sugar gliders, feather-tail gliders, growling grass frogs and legless lizards.”
The shire’s move to seek information about kangaroos on the peninsula was a followed a failed attempt by Cr Gill to get council to call for a ban on shooting kangaroos on the peninsula (“Council ignores move to end kangaroo shoots” The News 15/2/21).
Cr Gill says documents released through a Freedom of Information request show approvals in 2020 for the shooting of 325 kangaroos on the peninsula although he “suspects that the figure isn’t exactly accurate because it is difficult to decipher all of the end dates”.
“Also, there are separate culling operations, one of which was 300 at Cape Schanck two years ago which I know about from the property owner concerned.”