ALMOST one year after the idea was first mooted, a massive project to relocate more than 300 kangaroos from Mount Panorama has begun.
The relocation of the large mob of eastern grey kangaroos from the precinct is the largest project of its type in Australia and it has attracted national and international attention.
The ’roos were living in an area off College Road that was purchased by Bathurst Regional Council for the proposed second race track and their removal will also reduce the risk of collision with motorists and race competitors on the Mount.
Organised by the Bathurst Kangaroo Project, with the support of Bathurst Regional Council and more than 300 volunteers, a dozen kangaroos have now been relocated.
The ’roos have been corralled into a 25-hectare compound on the old Appleton Orchard on College Road and each animal is darted with a tranquiliser before being transported to an undisclosed location out of the region.
“We’re doing night darting, it keeps the animals incredibly calm,” Bathurst Kangaroo Project’s Helen Bergen said. “This is because the animals are in their natural patterns of moving about at night and are very calm and even curious.
“The aim always is to have the animals calm and feeling safe.”
Ms Bergen said it was vital that the kangaroos were kept calm during the darting and transportation.
We’re doing night darting, it keeps the animals incredibly calm.Bathurst Kangaroo Project’s Helen Bergen
“Eastern greys are probably the most delicate kangaroos and most susceptible to myopathy [a disease of muscle tissue which can kill them,” she said.
Ecologist Ray Mjadwesch darts each ’roo and with the help of two volunteer scribes begins to take details of each animal.
“Medicants to pre-empt myopathy are applied, the ’roo is then ear-tagged, and vital information like measurements, pouch condition, body condition etc are recorded,” Ms Bergen said.
“A close eye is kept on them by vets/medics to apply carefully calibrated medicants.”
The kangaroos are then transported to the relocation site located outside Bathurst where they are then kept in a soft-release compound for around one month.
“The small recovery team watch the ’roos until completely recovered,” Ms Bergen said. “It is going really well.”
The relocation site is on private land around 100 kilometres from Bathurst.
“It’s perfect kangaroo habitat there’s no noise and there’s lots of grass,” Ms Bergen said.
Once the first 30 kangaroos have been relocated a report will be prepared in order to gain licence approval for the mass relocation of the remaining ’roos.