This Aussie life . . .
Like most places on Earth, Australia suffers from plenty of misconceptions. Some are humorous, some are weird and some are, well, just misconceived! And there are plenty of misconceptions about kangaroos.
Hate to break a secret but, actually, they don’t hop down our main streets. Well, certainly not in the major population centres. There are plenty of rural and regional towns where this does happen – and even in suburban areas. But you are in far greater danger of being mown down by a car than any native marsupial.
But this story is about the plague proportions of kangaroos. That’s right: this wondrous creature is not in any danger of extinction any time soon.
New statistics have just been released about the kangaroo population in my home state of Queensland and they portray an intriguing problem.
State government agencies have determined the wild kangaroo population now stands at 24 million. That’s around six for every human in the state. (And don’t forget that Queensland is roughly about one-sixth of Australia so there’s a whole lot more roos out there!)
Farmers are complaining that the roos are eating them out of house and home (well, pasture land at least!).
They suggest that apart from a small dent in the roo population from a bad drought three years ago, overall numbers have been swelling out of control for thirty years. This is, they say, a major environmental problem as the roos are now so dense, they are denuding large areas of almost all native vegetation.
In a drought-prone land like Australia this can hasten desertification and we sure don’t need any more of that.
Calls are mounting for a state-sanctioned culling program but that starts bleeding hearts groaning all over the place. Even some who live here!
Restaurateurs offer a partial solution, saying that kangaroo meat is a wonderful alternative for fine dining. It is like venison and delightfully tasty (and, yes, I have tried it several times). Chefs say any squeamishness at the thought of eating such beautiful creatures should be compared with realising that veal is the flesh of two-month old gorgeous calves. Still tastes nice!
But if you find any of this unsettling, just bear in mind that it has been happening for decades and won’t stop any time soon. Mind you, when the next drought comes along – which they do very frequently – millions upon millions of roos will die a horrid death from starvation and lack of water. Maybe the restaurant approach is not so bad after all?
Love from Oz!