Australia’s kangaroo population has exploded from 27 million in 2010, to nearly 45 million of the marsupials in 2016. Now that there are nearly twice the number of kangaroos as people living in Australia, ecologists are suggesting that locals should start eating wild kangaroos to help solve the problem.
The reason that there is an abundance of kangaroos is because Australia has had a few particularly rainy years, resulting in plenty of new growth for these herbivorous mammals to graze on. The concern is that if there is a particularly nasty drought this summer, millions of kangaroos across the continent would starve to death.
David Paton from the University of Adelaide shares his analysis of why Australians should get a taste for kangaroo hot dogs. “If we’re going to cull these animals we do it humanely, but we also perhaps should think about what we might use the animals that are killed for,” he said. “We shouldn’t just simply leave them out in paddocks to rot or leave them in the reserves to rot. It’s not the kangaroos’ fault they’re overabundant, it’s probably we’ve just been too reluctant to take a stick to them, remove them out of the system sooner, to actually prevent the damage being caused.”
Many biologists are urging Australians to start culling kangaroos in the vastly overpopulated areas of Australia for meat. Some consider kangaroo meat similar to “sweet filet mignon.” Kangaroo steaks, sausages, and kebabs are organic, free range, low in fat, and high in iron. Others consider kangaroo meat as a novelty snack for tourists, like emu or crocodile. Still other Australians feel that it’s just plain unnerving to eat your national animal, and such a cute one at that. Just imagine if the United States had a population explosion of bald eagles, and ecologists suggested that we started stuffing them for Thanksgiving. How many Americans would go along with that?
Between being cute, a national symbol, and the fact that their meat has a low value on the market because no one wants to eat kangaroo stew, hunters simply aren’t applying for the special license needed to bag kangaroos in the wild. If nothing is done to cull the kangaroo boom before the next drought, Australia’s extra marauding marsupials will continue becoming common roadkill, trampling valuable crops, breaking fences, and consuming food intended for livestock.