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DO NOT feed the kangaroos. You are killing them

April 16th, 2019 | | backpacker

Wildlife authorities warn tourists feeding native animals at one of Western Australia‘s most famous beaches are “killing them with kindness” in search of the perfect selfie. 

Key points:

  • The ABC has witnessed several overseas tourists feeding kangaroos bananas, nuts, carrots and even chocolate.
  • Authorities warn kangaroos can become very ill from eating human food and rangers can impose fines of up to $1,000
  • Male kangaroos can also be extremely aggressive and territorial and can cause serious injury to people

The pristine white sand of Lucky Bay at Cape Le Grand National Park, 770 kilometres south-east of Perth, is known internationally for its kangaroos which enjoy lazing on the beach. n

The national park attracted 180,000 visitors last financial year and it is on track to surpass 200,000 this year.

Despite growing numbers of tourists, kangaroos are seemingly unafraid of humans and taking a photograph with the Australian coat of arms at Lucky Bay has become the region’s equivalent to a quokka selfie on Rottnest Island. 

But many tourists are using food as a lure to capture the western greys for the perfect holiday snap.

Ian Hughes, from the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions, said the practice is concerning.

“They’ve (kangaroos) certainly taken up occupation on that beach and if it’s not the major tourism attraction for this part of the world, it’s right up there,” Mr Hughes said.

“We’re really happy for people to take photos of the kangaroos but not through inducement of food when you’re trying to get that good shot.

“The kangaroos down there have become remarkably used to people, so you can get quite close to them for selfies without feeding them.

“There’s no need to feed them. The kangaroos are up close and personal without that inducement.”

Fines rarely issued for feeding wildlife

The department has signs posted throughout the park advising visitors not to feed kangaroos.

They warn kangaroos can become very ill from eating human food and rangers can impose fines of up to $1,000.

But Mr Hughes said typically prosecutions are only pursued against serial offenders and the department prefers to educate the public.

“The kangaroos will eat whatever you give them, but they have a lot of trouble digesting it, particularly stuff that’s not native,” Mr Hughes said. 

“Chocolate, bread and any processed foods, the kangaroos love to eat it, but they are very bad for their health.

“They can become quite obese, develop liver problems and become seriously ill. 

“The other problem is kangaroos do get quite used to people feeding them, and they can potentially become quite aggressive if they’re not fed.”

Feeding roos is ‘killing them with kindness’

Lynn Kidd is a State-registered wildlife rehabilitation carer who has turned her home into a kangaroo sanctuary. 

At Esperance Roo Haven this week, she was caring for 25 adult kangaroos and bottle-feeding 11 joeys on her 13-hectare property. 

Mrs Kidd, who previously cared for zebras and antelope in South Africa, said tourists do not know the damage they are causing by feeding kangaroos the wrong food. 

“They are killing them with kindness,” Mrs Kidd said. “I think people probably want selfies and that’s the way to get your selfie by offering them whatever you’ve got there.

“It’s a really big problem … they shouldn’t be doing it.”

Source: ABC

Sourced by Mike Barrow