Poor welfare outcomes resulting from poor management decisions in a translocation of western grey kangaroos (Macropus fuliginosus)

Graham G. Thompson, Scott A. Thompson, Anthony Pusey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

There is often considerable social media commentary on whether remnant kangaroo populations in urban areas should be euthanased or translocated. Here, we describe a translocation program in Western Australia where kangaroos were herded into a temporary enclosure, darted, sedated, and translocated to a site in the State Forest east of the Swan Coastal Plain where they were released after 24 h. Prior to darting and after being initially herded into a temporary holding enclosure, kangaroos were repeatedly released from the enclosure by members of the public. Sixty-three of 154 adult kangaroos and 20 of 52 pouched young (40.3%) died or were euthanased before being released from the translocation release enclosure. The total volume of the sedative Zoletil (mL kg-1) injected into kangaroos as a sedative was significantly higher in those that survived than those that died. The primary conclusion from this management program was that the western grey kangaroos were susceptible to capture myopathy and distressed animals are at a greater risk of not surviving a translocation program. In our professional judgement, from an animal welfare perspective, these kangaroos should have been euthanased and not translocated. Such scientific advice and professional experience should inform future decisions regarding management of remnant kangaroo populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPacific Conservation Biology
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2022

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