Thursday, March 13, 2008

Kangaroos To Be Killed in Australian Capital

An overabundance of kangaroos munching on native grasses near Australia's capital, Canberra, has left the government little choice but to kill some of the pesky marsupials, authorities say.

In Canberra and elsewhere in the island nation, kangaroos are becoming pests that overgraze native grasslands and compete with domestic livestock for food.

This concern has led the government of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), which includes Canberra, to prepare for an April cull of 400 eastern gray kangaroos from an unused defense site just a few miles from the city's parliament house.

The 287-acre (116-hectare) location is also home to endangered species of moth and grasshopper, which rely on the vulnerable native grasses for survival.

"We want kangaroos in the same environment, but just not in the same numbers," said Maxine Cooper, ACT's commissioner for the environment and author of a report that recommended the extermination plan.

"Culling any animal is a concern, but the real issue across the world is that we're losing species daily. The eastern gray kangaroo is not under threat—but there are threatened species on this site," Cooper said.

"If we don't take action, these species won't exist."

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