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Residents split on roo problem

A kangaroo gets up close to a residential area in Childers.
A kangaroo gets up close to a residential area in Childers. Christina Ongley

IT'S a part of our national emblem and, for sports fans, the boxing kangaroo is almost another Australian flag – but the kangaroo can be a divisive animal.

And Bundaberg region residents are split on whether we should encourage or cull the creatures, as a University of Western Sydney doctoral student has launched an online survey to gauge people's opinions on the issue.

The survey asks participants how the kangaroo makes them feel, what the animal means to the nation, their views on protection, culling and harvesting roos as a resource for food and other products.

Woodgate Beach General Store owner Rose McKeown said she had no problem with having kangaroos around the place.

While there have been many documented problems with kangaroos proliferating in the bush around Woodgate, Mrs McKeown is adamant they belong there.

“Kangaroos have been in Australia since before humans were here,” she said.

“This is their home. They have their place in society.”

Mrs McKeown said she enjoyed having kangaroos around the place.

“I have kangaroos in my backyard,” she said.

“I don't feed them, but they know I won't harm them.”

Woodgate Beach Tourist Park owner Gary Cooper said visitors loved seeing kangaroos around.

“Overseas tourists can't believe what they're seeing,” he said.

But Mr Cooper admitted the animals annoyed locals by making a mess on their lawns and eating the contents of their gardens.

“We get people coming into Woodgate and putting in nice, lush lawns, and for the kangaroos they're better than what they're getting in the bush,” he said.

He also said the number of kangaroos in the area was a danger, with frequent collisions between them and cars.

Cane farmer Joe Russo, another Woodgate resident, said he would support culling kangaroos where there were too many of them.

“The sheer numbers can be a problem because they come in and eat the sugar cane,” he said.

“They're terrible at Woodgate, a real nuisance.”

Mr Russo said from a farmer's point of view it was nice to see kangaroos around, but in moderation. They also became very aggressive in mating season.

The kangaroo survey is open to all Australians aged over 18.

To participate, visit www.kangaroosurvey.com.



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