On a daily basis, our team of 7 darters and 8 rescuers are out responding to calls to humanely capture displaced or injured macropods. These are ALL volunteers and we receive no funding from the government.
An increasing amount of our emergency work is associated with the rapidly expanding human population in Melbourne with pre-urban expansion of housing resulting in human-animal conflict with native wildlife. We are trying to fit 7 million people in our city!
Following the COVID pandemic and long periods of enforced “lockdown” in Melbourne, construction of housing estates, hospitals, shopping centres and major freeways has escalated, especially in the west, north and east where there are large areas of kangaroo habitats. Destruction of bushland habitats has driven the macropods to seek protection in shopping centres, schools, hospitals, factories and people’s homes. The North-East Link has also disturbed much of the macropods habitat.
Currently property developers are required to contract ecologists to facilitate the removal and rehabilitation of small sized fauna such as birds, possums, echidnas and snakes that are removed by wildlife rescuers. However, larger fauna like macropods are not part of the plan which has resulted in significant animal welfare issues with kangaroos pushed out onto roadways resulting in high mortality rates and injury.
This animal welfare crisis has been occurring all over Melbourne with wildlife rescuers trained in animal darting assisting to capture these displaced macropods. Sustainable One Health solutions need to be established for the welfare and management of peri-urban macropods. A humane affordable and sustainable solution is much needed.