By Taylah Eastwell
A much-loved mob of kangaroos landlocked at the future site of Kinley Estate have finally been relocated after a year-long community fight.
The developer of the estate, Intrapac Property’s CEO Max Shifman recently confirmed 60 kangaroos had been translocated to an undisclosed location, ending over 12-months of anguish and uncertainty by concerned community members.
The kangaroos were originally planned to be culled to make way for the all-new suburb until outcry from the community saw the killings halted and alternatives discussed.
“There is an impassioned community out there who didn’t want to see these kangaroos killed”, Mr Shifman said.
“We always wanted to avoid harming these animals but the current regulatory environment does not provide any other viable choice. Following the outcry we’ve spent the last 12 months working collaboratively and constructively with government to design a translocation trial to save the Kinley kangaroos,” he said.
A dedicated group of professionals were quick to form a group to advocate for saving the roos last July, known as Save the Kinley Kangas, having offered their expertise free of charge to the developer.
Member of Save the Kinley Kangas, Alyssa Wormald said the group had a “team of preeminent macropod experts who did a huge amount of pro bono work with the developer to make a proposal” for the safe relocation of the kangaroos.
“As far as we were aware it was progressing well. The proposal was in its final stage of approval when the developer just cut contact with us. We never found out what happened to it, they never provided an explanation or had any further contact with our experts who had been working with them collaboratively up until that point. That in itself has bred a lot of distrust by the community,” Ms Wormald explained.
Mr Shifman instead enlisted the help of a “specialist team” who have devised a pilot study to test the science underpinning currently policy around translocating kangaroos. The idea is said to be dangerous to kangaroos if not done correctly.
According to Mr Shifman’s statement, the study includes veterinary health testing at the time of relocation and ongoing monitoring over a two year period to understand survival rate and movement patterns.
The push for a study has worried Save the Kinley Kangas, the group now concerned that if the translocation is not done safely and humanely it may have devastating results for future translocation pleas.
“We know it is safe and humane when done by experts. We are concerned that if it is considered not successful the outcome will be one that doesn’t facilitate further relocations,” Ms Wormald said.
Regardless, Ms Wormald said the group was “thrilled that the community raised their voice and were able to stop a killing”.
“That is a huge success for which the community should be proud.
But the situation remains mysterious, Ms Wormald says.
“Our experts were offering to do it free purely for the welfare of the kangaroos and it’s interesting to see that he has paid for this study. As far as we were aware there was no problem with our proposal and if there was, why would they not speak to the experts about that? Why cut contact and take a team of researchers wanting to use them for a study? There is just very little for us to go on.
Ms Wormald said a few kangaroos had still been sighted at the development and she hopes they are reunited with the rest of the mob.
Residents are also concerned about the fate of a deer, affectionately known as Sam, who had lived with the roos for quite some time.
Mr Shifman said he was “happy to be able to invest in this pilot study to ensure that our development activities meet the gold standard for wildlife welfare, and hopefully create a platform for future successful relocations”.
“We take our environmental responsibilities as developers seriously,” he said.