VOLUNTEERS are being sought to help ensure the safe transfer of about 600 kangaroos from a private property at Cape Schanck into the neighbouring Greens Bush section of Mornington Peninsula National Park.
Campaigners to save the kangaroos have praised the property’s manager for relinquishing the permit he had been given to shoot the kangaroos.
“The hard work … has paid off and the newly formed Save the Kangaroos of the Mornington Peninsula (SKOMP) thoroughly welcome the recent development of the manager of the Cape Schanck property deciding on 13 January to withdraw the kangaroo shooting permit,” group spokesperson Mary Waterman said.
“I believe that our advocacy along with community pressure influenced the manager in his decision.”
Ms Waterman also praised Mornington Peninsula Shire councillors, “particularly David Gill who brought the dire situation of the peninsula’s kangaroos to the council’s notice in 2020” and shire CEO John Baker “for advocating for the Cape Schanck kangaroos not to be shot and to be released … with the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning”.
However, “the fight is not over yet” and volunteers were needed to help release the kangaroos.
She said Mr Baker confirmed on Friday 14 January “that he will ensure that the SKOMP group and volunteers are involved in the Cape Schanck kangaroo release plan process”.
Ms Waterman said the group believed kangaroos “could be a huge tourist drawcard” for the peninsula.
“We want to bring kangaroos into the hearts of the people. Kangaroos are the most beautiful, intelligent and extremely family orientated native animal that we should be extremely proud of.
“We only have to look at how the [Phillip Island] penguin parade is now a huge international tourist attraction for Victoria.”
While welcoming a review of the Wildlife Act 1975 announced in May 2020 by Energy, Environment and Climate Change Minister Lily D’Ambrosio, Ms Waterman hoped the independent panel would investigate “the continuing pressures our local kangaroo population faces due to DELWP issuing shooting permits without necessarily doing the checks before and after [they] are issued”.
The group believed shooting permits would continue to be issued “because some landowners (and DELWP) believe our native kangaroos are pests and are in plague proportions”.
“It is baffling to understand that kangaroos are protected under the Wildlife Act until a shooting permit (ATCW) is applied for. This seems to be a contradiction in itself.”
Cr Gill also welcomed the review announced by Ms D’Ambrosio, saying “we need accurate population figures and enforceable powers over habitat retention and control of pest species”.
“Any review should ensure mechanisms are in place for sustainable sources of private and public finance for programs to ensure the long term viability of our precious wildlife.”
Cr Gill wants Nepean MP Chris Brayne to make sure action was taken to ensure the survival of kangaroos on the peninsula.
He said DELWP “grossly overestimates” the number of kangaroos on the peninsula because it relied on aerial counts of kangaroos in Gippsland.
“The kangaroo food industry has decimated kangaroo numbers in New South Wales, leading to a parliamentary inquiry,” Cr Gill said.
“Now the industry has moved into Victoria with the blessing of the state government. Once established, the industry requires a constant supply of kangaroos and threatens the viability of kangaroos in Australia and now Victoria.”
Cr Gill predicted that “the more concisely contained kangaroos on the peninsula will be a prime target”.
Details about releasing the kangaroos at Cape Schanck: firstname.lastname@example.org