KANGAROOS VS. BANDICOOTS

From ANIMAL PEOPLE, May 1999:

MELBOURNE––”Beneath the soil
at Woodlands Historic Reserve lie the bodies
of 1,000 eastern grey kangaroos––males,
females, and their joeys,” Animal Liberation
campaign coordinator Rheya Linden charged
in the spring 1999 edition of the organization’s
magazine Animate. “Their bodies were
discovered by an Animal Liberation investigation––the
bodies of kangaroos kept alive
through the recent drought with regular fooddrops
by Animal Liberation and concerned
members of the public.”
Linden rebutted the claim of
Melbourne Zoo species management officer
Peter Myroniuk that Animal Liberation was
responsible for the failure of an attempt to
reintroduce the eastern barred bandicoot to
the Woodlands reserve.


Explained Geoff Strong of the
Melbourne Age, “Over the past decade, the
bandicoots, once thought to have been
extinct, have been bred at the Melbourne
Zoo following the discovery of a tiny colony
in a rubbish tip near Hamilton. So far the zoo
has bred about 300 and released most into the
wild,” keeping about 30 for further breeding.
Myroniuk told Strong in late
August 1998 that by 1996 about 600 bandicoots
inhabited the reserve, but only 20 survived
because, he said, Parks Victoria and
Animal Liberation had blocked a proposal to
cull 1,500 kangaroos who shared the habitat.
“Animal Liberation was calling for
people to feed the kangaroos,” Myroniuk
complained. “Bandicoots are a grassland animal,
but the kangaroos ate away all their
shelter and allowed them to be picked off by
birds of prey.”
Responded Linden, “In fact, Parks
Victoria had already killed all the kangaroos
whose bodies we subsequently discovered.
The pits were already sealed over. It is obvious
to anyone visiting Woodlands that the
bandicoot enclosure is a fenced section, separate
from the kangaroo habitat. Apart from
this, it is tussock grass, old logs, and other
such protective structures which provide
bandicoot shelter, not the green blades of
grass eaten by the kangaroos. The breeding
program coordinators’ failure to provide sufficient
shelter possibly led to the bandicoots’
seizure by owls.”
Parks Victoria killed the kangaroos,
Linden suggested, not to protect bandicoots,
but because “the kangaroos’ trapped and
starving state was embarrassing evidence of
years of mismanagement,” during which the
fenced-in kangaroos lacked “sufficient grazing
pasture to guarantee their survival.
Inevitably,” Linden added, “their confinement
led to inbreeding and overpopulation.
When the fence was erected, Parks Victoria
ignored professional advice which warned of
this impending crisis and provided humane
options for overcoming it.”
About 200 kangaroos now inhabit
the Woodlands enclosure.

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