Kangaroos are mostly docile but can be unpredictable when they feel threatened.
As Australian native wildlife, kangaroos are a protected species. They graze on grass and other vegetation including watered lawns and sports fields which are attractive when their normal grazing areas and water sources have dried up.
Kangaroos generally rest during the day in shaded areas and feed from early dusk until mid- morning.
Here are some tips to staying safe:
If you come across a dead kangaroo that has been spray painted this means that a wildlife rescuer has checked the pouch for joeys.
Keep pet dogs on lead if kangaroos are present. Dogs have been badly injured when chasing kangaroos. Penalties apply for having your dog off lead and for an attack on a kangaroo.
Wildlife carers are trained to help injured animals and to check for joeys.
While Council’s Animal Management team does play a role with the euthanasia of kangaroos if required, it is best to call Wildlife Victoria on 8400 7300 who will then alert a local carer.
Council is not responsible for the management of kangaroos or any other wildlife in the municipality and is not resourced to provide a full wildlife rescue service.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) is creating a state-wide Kangaroo Management Plan and Council will pass on your feedback.
Try to avoid close encounters with kangaroos. Don’t try to touch, pat or feed a kangaroo.
If kangaroos have been seen in your street, use a torch or spotlight when moving around your garden at night. Scan the area to avoid accidentally approaching a kangaroo resting in your yard.
Do not attempt to deliberately scare a kangaroo from your yard. This may make the animal aggressive and attempt to protect itself by attacking you. This may also scare the animal onto a road and cause an accident.
Give the animals space, you may not like having a kangaroo in your yard but these are animals that are looking for food and water.
Remove reasons for kangaroos to visit your yard such as water sources. You can also spray plants with a browsing deterrent (product sprayed on plants to make them unpalatable for animals to eat).
Council is aware of kangaroos frequenting sportfields where there is plenty of grass to feed on so we are working with the state Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning to look at suitable solutions.
The safety of the children and other sportsfield users is paramount, please don’t approach the kangaroos or put your club volunteers in danger.
While fences are not a suitable option to manage kangaroos on sportsfields, we will erect signs to help guide residents and clubs.
The eastern grey kangaroo has a preference for open habitats and is willing to live near people. It is often seen where human settlements adjoin bushland.
Rural and semi-urban developed areas with their lawns, water sources and shady areas provide ideal living conditions for the eastern grey kangaroo.
Over summer, the grasslands dried out so kangaroos sought food sources closer to humans such as lawns and sportsfields.
As urban areas encroach on kangaroo habitat, people are more regularly coming into contact with them.
This is common across the whole of eastern Australia, not just the City of Whittlesea.
Relocating kangaroos is difficult as they need to be sedated and evidence shows they may not stay in their new location, but look to return to where they came from.
If they are trying to get back, there is an increased risk of crossing roads for kangaroos who are disorientated.
As kangaroos are a protected species, it is illegal to cull them without a permit.
Applications to cull kangaroos must be submitted to and approved by DELWP.
Culling kangaroos in urban areas also requires approval from Victoria Police to use high powered firearms in a populated area.
Fencing is often not an option because kangaroos are widespread and fencing every reserve or park to contain kangaroos is not practical.
In areas that have fenced kangaroos in, kangaroos have continued to breed and then slowly starved during dry times.
We will be erecting signage around populated areas and sportsfields to warn people of the presence of kangaroos.
There are road safety standards and guidelines around signage on the sides of roads which we have to adhere to.
The State Government, not Council, sets the Urban Growth Boundary (UGB), which is the edge of suburbia. The state government is also responsible for approving Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) that enable urban development to occur within the boundary.
Council is advocating to have the UGB remain where it is and not extend further into the green wedge areas.
We will always be faced with an interface between suburbia and rural areas which will be where kangaroos and people will need to co-exist.
We are working with the State Government and other stakeholders in our region to find ways to manage kangaroo populations as this problem is not just in our municipality.
Recent PSPs approved by the State Government now require all residential developers to prepare to prepare Kangaroo Management Plans as part of any subdivision.
A common pasture grass called phalaris can be toxic to animals that graze on it.
Symptoms commonly seen in kangaroos that have chronic phalaris toxicity poisoning include muscle tremors and abnormal or erratic movement, such as repeated falling over, giving the appearance that the kangaroo is “drunk” or “staggering”.
Currently there is no known treatment for this condition in wildlife.
If you suspect a kangaroo with chronic phalaris toxicity poisoning, contact your local vet, a wildlife rescue organisation or DELWP on 136 186.