The issue of kangaroo deaths on Hunter roads has divided opinion and caused a strong reaction on social media.
In the past week, Fairfax Media has reported on the prevalence of kangaroos among the road kill in the region, particularly in wine country.
The public debate flared last week when Cessnock councillor Cordelia Troy came across a dead kangaroo that had a pole inserted into its carcass so it could be propped up by the side of the road.
Many readers rightly joined Cr Troy in condemning the sick act, but the debate has since turned to how to reduce the amount of dead animals left lying on Hunter roads.
Some have called for the speed limit to be reduced in wine country.
Others say there needs to be a kangaroo cull, given the national icons are actually classified as a pest.
Another argument that’s been put forward is that developers should be required to cull a kangaroo population if they are developing land that will displace the creatures and force them to move into other areas that have higher population or traffic rates.
It’s hard to see how lowering the speed limit is going to address the problem in a meaningful way. A car traveling at 50km/h will seriously injure a roo, if not kill it immediately. And any serious injury will ultimately end with the animal’s death.
One reader suggested the sensible solution of finding out where the region’s kangaroo hot spots were and put specific warning signs along roads in those areas, rather than having generic warning signs everywhere that make drivers complacent.
While calls for a cull may have some merit, there are many people in the community who would be distressed to know that the native creatures were being put to death.
It would also be difficult to charge developers with the responsibility of predicting the impact of their projects on the region’s future pest problems – this would also be hard to police.
As with most problems, the best answer for this issue will probably be found somewhere on the middle ground of public debate. Ultimately, if the animals are creating dangerous situations for motorists – particularly in areas of high tourist traffic like wine country – something has to be done to address the problem.
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