A petition calling for a cull of kangaroos in the Laurimar estate has been rejected by Whittlesea council.
The council received the petition, signed by 24 residents, during its Living with Kangaroos Forum on May 7.
The petition stated residents were concerned by the health and safety risk posed by kangaroos on council-managed sports fields in Laurimar, including the Laurimar Recreation Reserve.
Whittlesea councillors voted to reject the petition at last Tuesday’s council meeting, after council officers advised that a cull was “neither an effective nor necessary approach” to kangaroo management in Laurimar.
“The Laurimar estate is surrounded by privately owned farmland outside the urban growth boundary. Any action to remove kangaroos would not be effective in the long-term as the main population will continue to seek refuge on the irrigated sports grounds and gardens in dry seasons,” a council report stated.
“A cull of kangaroos in an urban environment is not practical and is likely to be distressing for some residents.”
Councils are not responsible for the management of wildlife but can apply to the Department of Environment, Water, Land and Planning for a cull in situations where kangaroos are damaging buildings, pasture or crops, posing a risk to human health and safety or damaging the environment.
Council officers said reports about injured kangaroos surged over summer and early autumn, with the animals moving into residential areas in search of green grass.
Officers said calls to council peaked in March, with 74 reports of dead kangaroos reported, up from 56 reports in March 2018 and 34 in March 2017.
Wildlife Rescuers secretary Andrew Cameron said there was an increase in kangaroos in Doreen and surrounds earlier in the year, but numbers had dropped over winter.
He urged people living in Doreen, Mernda and South Morang to ensure they slow down in known kangaroo hot spots, such as Yan Yean, Bridge Inn and Doctors Gully roads to reduce the chances of hitting a kangaroo.
“There were a lot of kangaroos in estates in the areas and some were being hit on roads they normally wouldn’t be hit on.
‘We also had a lot of phalaris poisoning cases happening in the estates so kangaroos were showing up in places they wouldn’t normally,” Mr Cameron said.
Whittlesea council is considering installing signs at known hot spots to raise awareness.