Successful kangaroo relocations from a Perth golf course

Metropolitan golf courses provide ideal conditions for Western Grey Kangaroos to survive as there is a plentiful supply of freshly cut grass, permanent water, shade and no predators. However, a consequence of these ideal conditions is that the population can rapidly expand beyond a sustainable level, large males can become aggressive towards other kangaroos and the public, and the kangaroos can dig holes in the fairway and the greens. Golfers enjoy the presence of kangaroos on the golf course with the proviso that they do not interfere with their golfing activities.

When the kangaroo population gets to an unsustainable level or the kangaroos get aggressive towards members of the public the population needs to reduced. Terrestrial Ecosystems recently used a chemical capture technique to sedate kangaroos before relocating them off-site. The kangaroos were darted with a sedative that took 2-10 minutes to achieve a light anaesthesia, while maintaining moderate muscle tone and a palpebral reflex. Sixty six adult kangaroos and 33 pouched joeys were successfully relocated during this project. Large dominant males and kangaroos that did not have young at foot were targeted during the relocation program. This ensured that there would still be a viable healthy population remaining on the course whilst reducing the risk of larger males becoming aggressive or digging up the greens and fairways.

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Mum and joey secured together for transport

 

Kangaroos at the golf course prior to relocation

Kangaroos at the golf course prior to relocation

 

Kangaroos secured prior to relocation

Kangaroos secured prior to relocation

 

Kangaroos recovering from the relocation

Kangaroos recovering from the relocation

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Comments

4 Responses to “Successful kangaroo relocations from a Perth golf course”

  1. Cienwen Hickey on December 3rd, 2016 8:37 am

    The main objective of the group Kanga Watch Inc. is education and if you are willing to give me some answers I have a few questions for you.

    Could you please tell me how far away from the golf course were these Kangaroos taken?
    Was the distance far enough to stop the Kangaroos returning to their home territory?

    Were they kept under constant surveillance until they emerged from the sedative?

    You said “Large dominant males and kangaroos that did not have young at foot were targeted during the relocation program. This ensured that there would still be a viable healthy population remaining on the course”
    Does this mean that you re-located ‘large dominant males’?

    Would you class these Kangaroos as ‘wild’ or semi humanised?

    Did you tender a Kangaroo Re-location Plan to whom ever you were contracted to?

    If you did, are you willing to share this plan to enable other people in all states to gain from your methods ?

    Is the golf course happy to have resident Kangaroos?

    Thank you.
    Cienwen

  2. Scott Thompson on December 3rd, 2016 7:59 pm

    Hi Cienwen

    Thank you for the comments and questions. Educating the public is a very important aspect of all fauna relocation activities, not just kangaroo relocations so we are happy to assist. Most people learn about these activities from the various social media channels and many of the comments in the social media are emotive and not based on science or are from members of the community who poorly understand the issues. Your questions and these answers will hopefully provide more clarity about relocation programs. If you have more queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

    The kangaroos relocated from the metropolitan golf course were taken to the Flynn State Forest block east of Sawyers Valley in the Perth Hills. The golf course is entirely fenced with a gate on the entrance which is closed after hours prohibiting movement of kangaroos off the course and into the community. Also, the distance between the golf course and the relocation site would ensure that no kangaroos would return. The relocation site is chosen by the DPaW and listed in the relocation licence. The licencee and contractor do not determine the site, nor its suitability for relocating the fauna.

    All kangaroos are monitored during the relocation process. The only time they are not directly monitored is while we are in transit but we stop regularly to check on the transported animals. There was a vet on-site during the sedation program at the golf course and at the relocation site, and staff monitored the kangaroos at the relocation site until they woke up. There is no post release monitoring of any fauna (i.e. bandicoots, possums, kangaroos, lizards etc) during fauna relocation programs in WA. This issue is discussed further in Thompson and Thompson (2015 and 2016) and in other blogs on this site.

    There were numerous large male kangaroos that were becoming a safety concern to the golf course staff and golfers. Some of these kangaroos were acting aggressively towards people and were actively digging up the fairways and greens. Where possible, these males were preferentially relocated. Some moderately large males were left on site to maintain a hierarchical community structure on the course, however, it is acknowledged that it would take time before the population determined a new pecking order. Females that had large pouched joeys or young at foot were not targeted during the relocation program. Any joeys that were relocated were still 100% reliant on mum and stayed in the pouch most of the time. Many of the joeys could not be seen without looking into the pouches.

    The kangaroos were habituated to people, but they were wild kangaroos; water and food were not actively provided to them at the golf course. You could approach the kangaroos, however, they would readily move away if you got too close.

    There were multiple iterations of the management strategy over a 7 month period before the relocation program was undertaken. As part of the development of the fauna relocation strategy there were site visits by ourselves, the client and DPaW wildlife officers prior to the relocation of kangaroos to discuss the various alternatives and the best way to manage the kangaroos.

    The management strategy was sent to DPaW along with our Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) when a licence application was submitted. Our SOP has been developed in consultation with two veterinarians, both of whom have undertaken chemical capture programs, multiple DPaW staff, and staff at the Perth Zoo. Where appropriate, the SOP is further refined after each relocation program to ensure that the techniques are continually being improved. Our SOP has an ‘adaptive management’ section, which requires we learn from experience, adjusting our procedures to obtain better welfare outcomes for the kangaroos. As all field situations are different, we frequently make minor adjustments during a relocation program.

    Due to the contract requirements we can’t provide the relocation management strategy, however, you can approach the client to request a copy.

    The golf course is happy to have a resident population, however it realises that this population needs to be continually managed. At the conclusion of this program there were still kangaroos present on the course, which will continue to breed in the future. All environments, irrespective of whether they are a golf course or urban bushland area, cannot sustain a high density of kangaroos. In these circumstances, active management is required.

  3. Loren Wheeler on November 29th, 2017 8:32 am

    Hiya,

    There are kangaroos (definitely seen 1) in the small bushland across the road from a residential area,South Perth. It seems like inadequate a space and really too small for them and also there’s the concerns that they could hit on the roads.
    Is relocation possible in these sorts of areas,for the benefit of the kangaroos, as unfortunately humans are occupying all their land space? Or do these services only take place if the animals are deemed a nuisance? Many thanks.

  4. Scott Thompson on November 29th, 2017 4:20 pm

    The responsibility for the welfare and care of the kangaroos rests with the manager/landowner. This may be council but in this case is probably The Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (formerly Parks and Wildlife). If you are concerned for their survival and welfare of the kangaroo(s) please contact DBCA.

    Relocation is definitely a possibility and we are happy to assist but it would need to happen promptly as relocation programs should not occur through the warmer summer months. Relocation can be recommended for a number of reasons including if the animal is a nuisance but it might also be done if the animal is at risk of injury or harm due to vehicles and people.

    Cheers

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