The eastern grey kangaroo is a common and iconic species of Australia. Its specialised behaviour and reproduction have evolved as adaptations to the Australian environment, allowing the species to survive and flourish, despite wide climatic and seasonal variations in habitat. Across its range, the eastern grey kangaroo is harvested and subjected to population management for a variety of reasons, including localised over-abundance, livestock competition, crop grazing, native habitat conservation, animal welfare and direct threats to human safety. Population management of kangaroos is most commonly undertaken by shooting, although other methods such as reproductive control, translocation and repellents may also contribute successfully to management. Kangaroo harvesting and population control are controversial and divisive, because the kangaroo is perceived as both a national icon and as a pest species. Although a limited number of surveys have been undertaken on attitudes towards kangaroos and their management, the socio-political aspects affecting these issues are yet to be systematically investigated. Within this review we discuss the relevance of culture and language to species management and conservation, as well as the importance of scrutiny of stakeholder perceptions, motivations and values. Future directions should examine human dimensions that influence kangaroo-management decisions and conservation. The following three key aspects are recommended as research and management priorities: (1) experimental determination of whether gaps exist between actual and perceived impacts of kangaroo populations, (2) empirical investigation of how stakeholder language, culture, identity and values influence perceptions of kangaroos and their management, and (3) where population control is determined to be necessary, an incorporation of stakeholder differences within decision making to ensure best outcomes for both species conservation and population management.
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Vol. 43 • No. 7