Kangaroo Facts

Adult kangaroos killed by commercial shooters (joeys killed are not counted)

No way to treat a national icon

What's going down, Down Under?
It's hard to comprehend. Why would anyone want to kill Australia's beloved national icon? And in such numbers? A good place to start is here. Learn what’s happening directly from our colleagues at Voiceless, one of Australia’s preeminent animal protection organizations, leading the fight to end the commercial kangaroo industry.

12 Kangaroo Fast Facts

A newborn baby kangaroo is blind, hairless, half the size of a thumb. She will crawl up into the mother’s pouch and spend several months there before emerging.
Kangaroos are good swimmers.
The red kangaroo, the largest marsupial, can grow to over five feet tall and up to 200 pounds.
During drought conditions, female kangaroos have the ability to suspend the development of an embryo until environmental conditions improve.
Kangaroos have four pairs of molars. As the front molars wear down, the next pair migrate forward.
Kangaroos cannot move backwards.
Female kangaroos have four teats and can produce two types of milk: one for the young joey “in-pouch” and the other for the older “at-foot” joey who is still nursing.
Some kangaroos can cover 25 in feet in a single leap and jump 6 feet high.
Kangaroos have excellent hearing and can move their ears without moving their heads to pick up sounds, like a cat.
Kangaroos are the only large animals who use hopping as a primary means of locomotion. This energy-efficient movement enables them to cover large distances in search of food.
Kangaroos’ large tails help them balance and help propel their hops.
Some kangaroos can move at speeds up to 44 miles per hour.
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Joeys killed or left to die are not recorded. Roughly 8 million dependent joeys are estimated to have died due to commercial shooting from 2000 to 2009.

The Australian government uses creative counting to promote kangaroo killing

Wildlife Ecologist Ray Mjadwesch believes the Australian government’s surveys of kangaroos are off-target, unreliable and significantly inflate the number of kangaroos, due to faulty counting methodology and data manipulation.

Ray argues If commercial killing of kangaroos continues at the current rate — given the added risk of fire, drought and climate change — the viability of free-ranging populations of kangaroos in Australia could soon be in doubt.

Ray being greeted by joeys at a kangaroo sanctuary. He had just tranquilizer-darted the wallaroo in the background who was being returned to the wild.

He’s put his work online for the world to see.

Commercial kangaroo killing chart

Much of Ray’s work involves studying government “harvest” records. While there is no question the commercial killing of kangaroos is in decline, Ray and the Australian government disagree on the cause. The government believes the decline reflects the falling demand for meat and skins. Ray believes the drop is due to declining population of kangaroos, something the government denies.

By charting kangaroo carcasses that enter the processing chain in New South Wales against the market price for meat and skin, Ray is able to show the decline in commercial killing of kangaroos is independent of the marketplace. Significant market force milestones such as the closing of the Russian market for meat or the California market for skins did not impact the “take.” Further, Ray provides evidence that kangaroo meat is but a by-product of the skin industry. Ray’s research underscores a basic tenet of conservation biology: harvest rates typically reflect population size.

The National Code of Practice for the humane shooting of kangaroos and wallabies for commercial purposes​

“The Code” is cited over and over by defenders of shooting kangaroos. “The Code” makes it humane. But “the Code” isn’t enforceable. It’s voluntary, with recommended guidelines like this for killing joeys: The blow to the head “must be delivered with force sufficient to crush the skull and destroy the brain.” 5.1 (i) page 13 of “The Code” which is code for false assurance.

From dusk to dawn:
A night in the life of a roo shooter

It’s the dead of night. The middle of a stubbly paddock. Just you and the motor running, the eyes gleaming in the spotlight. This is kangaroo hunting.

Photojournalist Jane Cowan saw it all: The wild kangaroos shot dead. Their joeys scrambling to make sense of it. Body parts cut off and casually discarded. Why? Soccer shoes, mainly.

Jane spent considerable time with a commercial kangaroo shooter and found another perspective: He doesn’t see the gore. He sees it as just a job. A permanent overnight shift. One that doesn’t pay very well, either.

Caution: Jane’s article, published by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in 2018, provides an unblinking account of a kangaroo shooter’s typical worknight. It might prove distressing for some readers.

The bushfire crisis and a little kangaroo named Clover​​

I woke to the smell of smoke in Perth on December 11th. I rose quickly, went to the window and looked beyond the bay to the bush land of the hills. The sky was dark with a plume of smoke drifting from the north. I immediately thought of the animals.

Open letter, case closed

Kangaroo experts highlight 5 major concerns of commercial killing of kangaroos — kangaroo welfare, weak and unenforceable regulations, depleted populations, unsafe handling of carcasses used for meat, and the importance of live kangaroos to Australian culture and economy.

Why roos rule: Jack, Jill and Joey

Exquisitely adapted to their environment over millions of years and possessing unique and fascinating attributes, kangaroos deserve our respect and protection. Learn why kangaroos belong on the grassy fields of Australia, not the artificial grass soccer fields of America.