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What happens to joeys when female kangaroos are shot?

Article ID: 76
Last updated: 21 Oct, 2009
Revision: 1
Views: 6116

Much of the public concern about the shooting of kangaroos stems from the killing of females and the resultant death of their joeys. The Australian National Codes of Practice (Commercial and Non-commercial) for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies requires that if a shooter kills a female with pouch young, then they must kill the joey. Depending on the size of the joey this is usually done by decapitation or a blow to the head. Larger young may be killed by shooting. If the shooter does not kill them, it is highly likely that dependent young will die of starvation, exposure or predation.

The Code of Practice discourages shooters from shooting females carrying large pouch young. When females with young at foot are shot, the young tend to disperse and it is unlikely that these joeys will survive unless they are fully independent of their mothers. When females with pouch young are shot and their joeys have to be kiiled, the methods available to shooters are limited and their relative humaneness is not fully known. While professional kangaroo shooters must receive training in shooting adult kangaroos and must pass a shooting competency test, they do not receive any training in how to kill joeys.

The RSPCA believes that research is urgently needed to determine the most humane method of killing small pouch young in cases where the mother has been shot and what factors should be taken into consideration when estimating the survival chances of young at foot. The results of this research should be used to amend the Code and proper training provided to ensure that shooters are trained and competent in every aspect of their profession.

It may be that the only solution which would totally avoid the potential of cruelty to pouch young would be not to shoot females at all, and research is needed to examine the potential effects of such a policy on commercially harvested kangaroo populations.


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Also read
document Is there a need to kill kangaroos or wallabies?
document What is the difference between non-commercial and commercial kangaroo shooting?

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