As announced in the ACT Government's press release of 21 May [ 68 kB] and described in the TAMS document "Questions and Answers about the 2012 Kangaroo Control Program" [ 192 kB], the Pinnacle Nature Reserve is planned to be included in the 2012 cull of Eastern Grey Kangaroos. The press release points out that this cull is "needed to maintain populations at appropriate levels to protect the integrity of ecosystems, several of which contain endangered flora and fauna".
The fotpin Coordinating Committee supports this cull at The Pinnacle Nature Reserve, and believe it is in the best interests of the reserve that it proceed.
The following position statement was prepared by the Committee in response to concerns raised by a local resident.
Since our group formed 3-4 years ago we've seen evidence of kangaroos affecting the health of the reserve and adjacent lands.
Before the drought broke in 2010, we observed that palatable native grasses were heavily grazed and unable to flower and set seed. This directly affects the health of the groundlayer, and failure of native species to recruit means greater opportunities for weed invasion.
We have also consistently observed large patches of soil erosion due to a cycle of excessive kangaroo disturbance and rainfall. Some of these concerns we've documented on our web page "Managing kangaroos on The Pinnacle".
And so in May last year, with the guidance and assistance of ACT Parks, we conducted a kangaroo survey to assess the roo population. We discovered that at that time there were some 770 animals, at a density of over 2 per hectare – exceeding the desired 'conservation range' of 0.6 to 1.5 per hectare. [The latter is the figure determined by research in the ACT to be the approximate range in which the kangaroo population does not have an adverse impact on grasslands (ACT Kangaroo Management Plan, 2010).] The wet year we've had since means the kangaroo population has likely increased. For more information on the 2011 roo count see fotpin's 2011 kangaroo count.
Prior to the arrival of Europeans, kangaroo numbers were kept in check by predators (people and dingos), variable and unreliable water supply and the low nutrient status of our soils – conditions that have profoundly changed.
The evidence that's presented and summarized in the ACT's Kangaroo Management Strategy makes a compelling, scientific case that, left unchecked, kangaroos will overgraze and degrade our nature reserves (much like what humans are doing to the Earth). And when their food is gone, and the ground is bare and exposed to weed invasion and erosion, will die from starvation. At the Pinnacle they might try their luck crossing William Hovell or Coulter Drives, but they will be weakened by that time and that's a risk to people.
We enjoy the company of the Pinnacle's kangaroos – they are an important part of the Pinnacle and its ecology. We walk through or around the mobs as we carry out weed control, and everyone is saddened that the cull is needed. The cull is the unfortunate consequence of many uninformed or inescapable past decisions.
Our group supports the kangaroo cull that's underway, and we believe it's in the best interests of the reserve that it proceed.
Managing kangaroos on The Pinnacle
Questions and Answers about the 2012 Kangaroo Cull [ 192 kB]
Management of Kangaroos in the ACT
ACT Kangaroo Management Plan, 2010 [ 6.5 MB]
Kangaroo Research in the ACT
Research into kangaroo fertility control in the ACT
Research into kangaroo movements in the ACT (including “track our kangaroos in Google Earth”)