THE risk of kangaroos getting onto the Mount Panorama circuit during a race has been significantly reduced, key stakeholders heard this week.
News that Bathurst Regional Council had new plans for another kangaroo cull on the iconic circuit prompted the meeting between several concerned groups.
The Western Advocate reported last month that the council’s corporate services and finance director, Bob Roach, said current measures to control kangaroo numbers had proved insufficient.
However, ecologists and researchers say there are other solutions available before killing more kangaroos.
Lead scientist with the Sydney University of Technology, Dr Daniel Ramp, told the meeting that risks to kangaroos and users of the track can be further reduced.
“[Risks] can be minimised with further fencing and changes to management before and on the day of races,” he said.
“It is important that Bathurst Regional Council takes advantage of the evidence and expertise available to develop short and long-term management strategies for kangaroos on the Mount.”
Representatives of local environment groups, residents on the Mount, WIRES Central West, the Green Army and volunteers with the Bathurst Kangaroo Project heard a series of presentations from universities and local experts.
“There are five kangaroo mobs on Mount Panorama, with their own home territories and patterns of movement,” Dr Ramp said.
“The secret to keeping kangaroos off the track includes consideration of the habits of each of those five groups.”
Dr Ramp urged council to finish fencing work around the iconic race circuit to ensure the safety of animals and people during races.
“Large kangaroo gates need to be installed into fencing at strategic points and kept open through the year,” he said.
“Kangaroos are then slowly and carefully herded through the gates by people skilled in macropod behaviour, and then closed when the race is on.”
Those at the meeting called on the council to actively engage with the expert advice provided by the Bathurst Kangaroo Project.
They also asked council to continue with effective and non-lethal protocols that have resulted in the latest three kangaroo-free races and to develop a long-term strategy meeting the needs of the kangaroos, the residents, racegoers and the race drivers.
Ecologist and local kangaroo handler Ray Mjadwesch said there have been no kangaroo incidents on the track during the last three race meetings.
“This result proves that non-lethal management can provide a safe race-environment,” he said.