Roos invade town

Kangaroos perfectly at home in suburbia: this mob is caught having a graze on the home of Tumut rugby, Jarrah Oval, over the weekend.
Kangaroos perfectly at home in suburbia: this mob is caught having a graze on the home of Tumut rugby, Jarrah Oval, over the weekend.

Love them or loathe them, the influx of kangaroos within the town limits looks set to stay.

Local residents that live near sporting ovals, vacant blocks and the golf course have been reporting more hopping visitors than usual in recent months, while several have been spotted around the CBD area of town, as well as Fitzroy and Capper Streets.

For Tumut Golf Club manager, Alex Sumpter, the increase of kangaroos is a positive development, quite the opposite to what many people would imagine for an organisation where grass is such an imperative part of business.

“The kangaroos are definitely an asset for us,” Mr Sumpter said. “There has been an increase in the numbers of kangaroos of late, which is obviously a reflection on the season.

“I have been here nearly two years and there is considerably more kangaroos now than when I first arrived.”

Golfers competing in local tournaments who have travelled from Sydney or those from overseas visiting the area love seeing the kangaroos up close and personal, with many wandering the fairways with the massive marsupials for hours on end.

“People love the kangaroos being here,” Mr Sumpter said. “The kangaroos are quite tame and used to having people around. Their droppings aren’t acidic so it doesn’t affect the greens and they eat the grass too, so it is good.

“It would be different in a drought I imagine, but for us at the moment, the kangaroos are definitely an asset and welcome to stay.”

Each evening around 3pm, or earlier on a rainy day, anywhere between 50 and 200-plus kangaroos make their way out of nearby bushland and frequent the Tumut Golf Club.

The weather dictates their visiting hours, with rain filled days or overcast days bringing the kangaroos down onto the fairways earlier.

Not everyone loves the native wildlife hanging around the town as much as the Golf Course crew do with several reports of kangaroos shot with rifles or arrows and even beheaded in areas on the outskirts of the town limits.

Although the local police are not currently investigating any particular matter, they reminded residents that to torture a kangaroo or to kill a kangaroo without a permit is illegal and those caught doing so will be prosecuted.

The National Parks and Wildlife Services (NPWS) have been called to several incidences lately involving kangaroos, but they are purely related to the larger numbers grazing in residential areas.

“There are a lot of animals about at the moment in general as we have had a couple of good years,” the NPWS spokesperson said. “Reports of groups of 20-30 kangaroos near the Murray Glen estate and in other areas of town have been received. We haven’t attended a human safety issue and people need to be aware it’s not a new issue having kangaroos in town.”

From an agricultural perspective, the increase in kangaroo numbers can have a severe impact on valuable grazing land and crops. An increase in permits to cull the animals on private farmland has been noted across the region and also throughout the state.

“Kangaroos are prolific everywhere because of the good seasons,” the spokesperson said. “From an agricultural point of view a permit can be given to shoot the kangaroos on private land to reduce numbers.”

Taking care when driving on the outer limits of town and on local roads is also encouraged as there are plenty of kangaroos that are also lining the roads looking for green pick.