An assessment of animal welfare for the culling of peri-urban kangaroos

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
J. O. Hampton, D. M. Forsyth
Wildlife Research
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Context Shooting is used to reduce the abundance of kangaroo (Macropus sp.) populations in many peri-urban areas in Australia, but there is uncertainty surrounding the animal welfare outcomes of this practice. Aim We assessed the animal welfare outcomes of night shooting for peri-urban eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). We quantified the duration of stress for: (1) shot animals; (2) euthanased pouch young; and (3) other animals in the same social group. Methods An independent observer collected thermal imagery data, enabling four key animal welfare parameters to be quantified: instantaneous death rate, median time to death, wounding rate and flight duration of conspecifics. The duration between pouch removal and insensibility was recorded for pouch young. Post-mortem data were recorded to confirm the location and extent of pathology from shooting. Key results Of the 136 kangaroos that were shot at, two were missed. The wounding rate was zero, with a 98% instantaneous death rate. The median time to death for the three animals not killed instantaneously was 12s. For pouch young considered sentient, the median stress time was 4s. Kaplan-Meier survival analysis revealed that the median flight duration of conspecifics was 5s. Conclusions Our results indicate that night shooting produces a very short duration of stress to shot kangaroos, their pouch young and their conspecifics. Implications When compared to other wildlife shooting methods, night shooting is a humane method for culling peri-urban kangaroos.


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