Common long held beliefs about harvested kangaroos are that they are pests that have benefited from human induced landscape change. Enclosed or isolated kangaroo populations in reserves are thought to impact biodiversity and are routinely culled. Over forty years of scientific research has yielded much information about the ecology of various kangaroo species, particularly the harvested ones, that does not always support these broad assumptions: populations, drought, total grazing pressure
Sustainable use of kangaroos has become synonymous with their exploitation for meat (for pet food and human consumption) and hides. Such exploitation raises a number of concerns to do with ecology, welfare, hygiene and social impacts. Furthermore, over twenty years of kangaroo harvesting has failed to yield measurable outcomes of sheep replacement, the primary environmental benefit to be derived from sustainable use of kangaroos: population estimates, trigger points, sheep replacement, hygiene
Law-making power in Australia is divided between Commonwealth and State governments. The Commonwealth Government has overall responsibility for the welfare of animals killed for commercial purposes and the State Kangaroos Management Programs are incorporated as part of the National Plan of Management for Kangaroos. Within this complex legislative and regulatory framework there are a number of issues that arise: welfare of joeys, welfare of adults, non-commercial shooting, welfare & enforcement, sustainability & enforcement, trigger points, quota
The killing of kangaroos is a highly charged ethical matter. Australia has been accused of hypocrisy for opposing the killing of whales while at the same time engaging in the largest commercial killing of land-based wildlife in the world. This killing raises a myriad of ethical concerns, including concern for the welfare of joeys and adult kangaroos, the environment and Indigenous rights.
We believe that the well-being of kangaroo populations is inextricably linked to the well-being of Australia's landscapes and its people. THINKK’s future vision is for an improved understanding of the biology and ecology of kangaroos and functioning of the Australian landscape. We hope to achieve this vision through review and research, examining case studies, interacting with stakeholders, creating policy recommendations, and implementing non-lethal management options.
The mission of THINKK is to foster understanding among Australians about kangaroos in a sustainable landscape, through critically reviewing the scientific evidence underpinning kangaroo management practices and exploring non-lethal management options that are consistent with ecology, animal welfare, human health and ethics.
THINKK is a new and innovative think tank that has been established to undertake independent research and encourage public discourse on kangaroos in Australia. THINKK is comprised of key ecology and sustainable policy experts and consults widely with stakeholders. THINKK engages in independent, practical research and consulting based on knowledge leadership. The think tank strives to fill current knowledge gaps in science, policy and law to assess the key processes relating to kangaroos and dysfunctional landscapes. THINKK actively disseminates research findings to promote change that will provide a sustainable future for kangaroos and the Australian landscape.
The kangaroo harvest in Australia is the largest commercial kill of terrestrial wildlife on earth, consisting of some three million adult kangaroos and 855,000 dependent young, in pouch and out of pouch, that die every year. Sustainable use of wildlife (per the International Union for Conservation of Nature) is only justifiable when there is a clear conservation benefit. As such the harvest is undertaken on the assumption that kangaroos are either pests or that their commercial value will promote graziers to destock sheep and cattle.
However, emerging science does not support the view that kangaroos are over abundant in open landscapes or competitive with livestock for resources (except during drought). There is also no evidence of sheep replacement over the last 20-40 years of harvesting kangaroos. Should the kangaroo harvest and various forms of culling continue if the fundamental ideas of improved environmental outcomes and retaining value for graziers are questionable?
Nearly 100 years of conflict between graziers and kangaroos have resulted in the current kangaroo industry and cultural mindset of kangaroos as pests. THINKK is challenging these views and contributing new knowledge to the public discourse about kangaroos.
The think tank is governed by a Research Advisory Committee comprising of macropod experts, Dr Dror Ben-Ami and Dr Daniel Ramp, ISF sustainability expert Professor Stuart White and ISF animal and environmental law expert Keely Boom. ISF sustainability expert Louise Boronyak is THINKK’s project manager. Expert advisors, macropod expert Dr David Croft, pioneering animal welfare expert Christine Townend and Indigenous elder Uncle Max Dulumunmun Harrison, inform and refine THINKK’s research priorities and content. Read more here.