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3 June 2016 An assessment of animal welfare for the culling of peri-urban kangaroos
Jordan O. Hampton, David M. Forsyth
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Context . Shooting is used to reduce the abundance of kangaroo (Macropus sp.) populations in many peri-urban areas in Australia, but there is uncertainty surrounding the animal welfare outcomes of this practice.

Aim . We assessed the animal welfare outcomes of night shooting for peri-urban eastern grey kangaroos (Macropus giganteus). We quantified the duration of stress for: (1) shot animals; (2) euthanased pouch young; and (3) other animals in the same social group.

Methods . An independent observer collected thermal imagery data, enabling four key animal welfare parameters to be quantified: instantaneous death rate, median time to death, wounding rate and flight duration of conspecifics. The duration between pouch removal and insensibility was recorded for pouch young. Post-mortem data were recorded to confirm the location and extent of pathology from shooting.

Key results . Of the 136 kangaroos that were shot at, two were missed. The wounding rate was zero, with a 98% instantaneous death rate. The median time to death for the three animals not killed instantaneously was 12 s. For pouch young considered sentient, the median stress time was 4 s. Kaplan–Meier survival analysis revealed that the median flight duration of conspecifics was 5 s.

Conclusions . Our results indicate that night shooting produces a very short duration of stress to shot kangaroos, their pouch young and their conspecifics.

Implications . When compared to other wildlife shooting methods, night shooting is a humane method for culling peri-urban kangaroos.

© The authors 2016
Jordan O. Hampton and David M. Forsyth "An assessment of animal welfare for the culling of peri-urban kangaroos," Wildlife Research 43(3), 261-266, (3 June 2016).
Received: 3 February 2016; Accepted: 1 March 2016; Published: 3 June 2016
population control
stress response
urban ecology
wildlife management
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