LAND-CLEARING work for the city’s proposed second racetrack is on hold after a mob of kangaroos found their way from the Mount Panorama precinct into the CBD in a panic on Thursday.
Several residents pleaded with authorities to rescue the animals as kangaroos were spotted in Russell, Keppel, Havannah and Lambert streets.
Western Advocate sports journalist Alex Grant said he saw one hopping along outside the office on Russell Street, before it darted through traffic and into Kings Parade around 1.20pm.
Bathurst Kangaroo Project’s Helen Bergen said seven eastern grey kangaroos were spotted in the CBD on Thursday and there were more sightings on Friday.
Three (including two juveniles) were subdued with darts and later relocated, but the others could not be found.
“Those three kangaroo rescues took over 20 man hours, five rescuers, two police, several drivers who pulled over to help slow and redirect busy traffic, and the support of householders along that block,” Ms Bergen said.
The panicked roos had fled their home territory around the old Appleton Orchard on College Road, an area of land recently acquired by Bathurst Regional Council.
The tree removal is part of works being conducted in preparation for the second track. Council is currently seeking government funding to build the track.
Ms Bergen said Bathurst Kangaroo Project members met with council directors late last year telling them that the removal of the orchard required careful planning and consideration of the mob of 150 kangaroos living there.
“It isn’t appropriate for the community to pick up the pieces with kangaroos dead, dying and panicking in town,” she said.
“Dispersing mobs of kangaroos into town is a terrible safety risk and a plan needs to be in place to help avoid it.
“There have been some very upset phone calls from the public expecting more to be done to protect the wellbeing of the kangaroos.”
Ms Bergen said eastern grey kangaroos can suffer from muscle problems when under stress, which can quickly kill them.
Just a day after the roo rescue in the CBD, a young joey was found dead in the grounds of Charles Sturt University.
Bathurst council general manager David Sherley said work had been halted at the site following community concerns.
“A review of the tree removal will involve continued engagement with volunteer and environmental groups to assess options to ensure kangaroo movements are monitored,” he said.
“[We need to] find the most appropriate ways to proceed onsite, while ensuring the safety of fauna in the area.”