The Bathurst Kangaroo Project is on track to finalise the relocation of 300 animals from the Mount Panorama precinct by the end of May.
The relocation prolect was launched last year in a bid to rid the Mount Panorama precinct of kangaroos to improve safety on local roads and the world-famous track during motor racing events.
It is a world-first project that has drawn international interest along with close scrutiny from Australian wildlife authorities, including the Office of Environment and Heritage and National Parks and Wildlife Service.
A report to Wednesday night’s Bathurst Regional Council meeting by corporate services and finance director Bob Roach says ratepayers have so far chipped in $75,000 to support the relocation with a request for more likely to come before council.
Council originally budgeted $20,000 to support the project – to pay for temporary fencing at the Appleton Orchard compound where the kangaroos have been held awaiting relocation and for medicants to calm the ’roos during relocation – but unexpected delays and a larger number of kangaroos than expected have seen costs blow out.
Bathurst Kangaroo Project leader Ray Mjadwesch has updated council on the relocation, saying the number of kangaroos being moved to the new site was now about 300 – not the 150 originally planned.
While the relocation has been lauded by environmental groups, council’s support for the project has drawn local criticism as the cost has continued to rise.
Council is paying $7500 a month for the temporary fencing at the compound off College Road which is set to remain in place until the end of October.
“While it is noted … that the relocation program is on track to be completed by the end of May, this report is seeking that the general manager be authorised to retain the fencing up to the end of October, should it be required,” Mr Roach wrote.
“This will allow for the fencing to remain should any further delays be experienced with this project and also allow for a secured site for any clean-up works that may be required.”
Mr Roach said the update to council from Mr Mjadwesch indicated that:
- Eight of the kangaroos removed from the orchard had been fitted with satellite tracking collars, as part of the Office of Environment and Heritage requirements.
- Mr Mjadwesch was awaiting advice from the OEH with regard to fitting tracking devices to an additional 20 kangaroos as part of the project.
- Mr Mjadwesch had provided advance notice of his intention to seek additional funds from council as a contribution towards the cost of satellite tracking collars and the increased amount of medicants needed to cater for the higher than expected number of kangaroos.