By Claire Ottaviano
A NEW wildlife and environmental advocacy group admits the cards are stacked against them in their pursuit to save kangaroos they say are dying of starvation and thirst as a result of works on the progressing Brabham Estate.
The Swan Valley Wildlife and Environment Advocacy Group (SVWEAG) launched two weeks ago, says property development had resulted in kangaroos being trapped in ever-shrinking areas without adequate food or water.
Spokesperson for the group Grant Stewart has rejected claims by the RSPCA, Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions (DBCA), the developer Peet and Wildlife Care Inc that there is plenty of food and water for the kangaroos.
“A false narrative that they survive where they are located ignores the fact that they have been driven off good sources of water, food and shelter, onto degraded sites,” he said.
“The recent ripping up of a large section of land on the northern side of Woollcott Avenue to Murray Road, has had the effect of forcing large groups of kangaroos onto the road verges every evening to source grass to eat.
“Kangaroos are now being struck by cars regularly, on average one per evening, with those who are not killed being maimed and needing to be shot.”
The DBCA said Parks and Wildlife staff had visited the area four times since late December.
“Walk throughs of the site were conducted and the kangaroos appeared healthy to staff experienced in assessing these matters and had ample food and water resources,” a DBCA spokesperson said.
“There are two available watering holes and DBCA had no concerns about the quality of water at the time of the visits.
“Kangaroos are herbivorous grazers that feed opportunistically on grasses and shrubs, and at this time of year they do not typically expend much energy.”
The DBCA did not answer Echo News questions regarding water quality testing at the watering holes.
Similarly, the RSPCA also conducted site visits and deemed the water and food supply adequate but did not provide any further comment on water testing.
The DBCA, the RSPCA, Emerge Associates on behalf of Peet and Wildlife Care WA conducted the most recent site visit on January 27.
“DBCA and RSPCA staff did not indicate any issues with the health or condition of kangaroos observed on the day, nor did they raise any concerns with regard to the adequacy of water or food resources,” the Emerge report said.
“The participants agreed that there was no need for supplementary food or water to be provided to kangaroos in the site.”
But SVWEAG disagree.
“To look at those watering holes and say they’re okay is a lie,” Mr Stewart said.
“If those watering holes are okay we ask, why are scores of kangaroos gathering at the fences each night to get out of there to get water to drink outside.”
The group plans to lodge a petition with the City of Swan requesting water and food be provided to kangaroos, distribution of electronic signage warning drivers of kangaroo presence, a reduction of the speed limit to 40km/hr, and independent assessment of environmental impacts.
The RSPCA has received animal cruelty reports through its cruelty hotline regarding the kangaroos’ welfare which are being investigated.