A SECRET plan to cull kangaroos on Mount Panorama highlights Bathurst Regional Council’s lack of expertise and inability to follow expert advice, according to ecologist Ray Mjadwesch.
And he says there is a simple solution to protect both the kangaroos and drivers during races on the Mount.
The cull being considered by council is due to what it claims is a “real threat” from kangaroos during motorsport events on the circuit.
But Kangaroo Project member Mr Mjadwesch has slammed council for being short-sighted and looking for a quick fix to a problem.
The last cull, conducted in 2009, resulted in 228 shot (including 88 joeys), but he said many more fled the area and died within Bathurst’s CBD outskirts.
Mr Mjadwesch said that cull terrified the kangaroos who fled their home territory on the Mount only then to be hit by cars around Bathurst, or to die from panic and exhaustion.
But he says strategies are working, and the fact there had been no incidents with kangaroos during the recent Bathurst Motor Festival, 12 Hour or Bathurst 1000 proves this.
However, he said council must complete installing fences and gates around the already-identified areas that kangaroos are known to inhabit.
He said the fences stay up permanently and in the lead-up to races any kangaroos outside the fences are herded back in and the gates shut.
“It’s not a numbers thing, it’s an attitude thing ... there’s just a mindset that culls have to happen,” he said.
In the lead-up to last year’s Bathurst 1000, Mr Mjadwesch said he spent considerable time consulting with council on long-term planning for the safety of kangaroos and motorsport competitors.
“It’s a slap in the face to be honest,” he said yesterday.
“Council struggles with something that’s really quite easy to look after.”
The Western Advocate revealed on Wednesday that council corporate services and finance director Bob Roach is the man behind the proposed cull.
His report to council claims current measures to control kangaroo numbers have proved insufficient.
“Given the high potential for conflict between kangaroos and motorsport events, the time is now opportune to create an impact on kangaroo numbers in the Mount Panorama precinct by way of a further cull,” Mr Roach wrote in his report to the council.
Helen Bergen, also from the Kangaroo Project, rejected Mr Roach’s claims that council had tried everything.
“It is council’s lack of application of kangaroo knowledge, lack of expert input, and gaping holes in both their fencing and their track clearance protocols,” she said.
“We have identified many instances where council itself is creating the risk.”