IN THE NEWS: On JUL 14, 2019
A property developer who was forced to relocate a group of kangaroos rather than cull them to make way for a new housing development in Perth's south say just under half have died during the relocation process regardless.
The troop of about 200 Western Grey kangaroos were fenced in on land near Baldivis Road, and were due to be "humanely tranquillised and euthanased" in coming months before first stage construction by Spatial Property Group on the Paramount Estate was due to begin.
The plan was originally developed in consultation between the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction, Terrestrial Ecosystems expert Graham Thompson and the developer, and acknowledged relocation of large numbers of kangaroos could have "poor animal welfare outcomes".
In his previous work, Dr Thompson previously stated kangaroo location was an "imperfect science" and said the outcome may not always be best for the animals.
However public backlash in the form of a community petition and pressure from local member Reece Whitby meant the state government eventually asked Spatial to relocate the kangaroos rather than conduct the culling program.
Data has now revealed more than 40 per cent of the kangaroos who were captured during the relocation died earlier this year.
"To date, the data collected shows 85, or 40 per cent of the 206 kangaroos captured, died within the first 24 hours of the relocation, most as a result of a known issue called capture myopathy - a stress related illness known to have a serious impact on Western Grey Kangaroos," a Spatial spokesman said.
A Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attraction spokeswoman later confirmed the deaths, and said the relocation operation had been carefully conducted.
"About 40 per cent of the Baldivis kangaroos died during the relocation due to either 'capture myopathy' or being euthanised on the advice of the overseeing vet," she said.
"The relocation of approximately 200 western-grey kangaroos was overseen by a veterinarian contracted by the developer and DBCA wildlife officers and scientists were closely involved throughout the operation."
The department will continue to monitor the kangaroos over the next 12 months, and the official results of the relocation will be published in a scientific journal.
Spatial said it was likely more deaths had not yet been recorded, but they also were awaiting the formal results.
The relocation program is estimated to have cost around $500,000, including infrastructure costs, research staff, community consultation and legal expenses.
It's understood most costs were footed by the developer rather than the state government.