The Plight of the Kangaroo

More than 18.2 million kangaroos were killed for commercial purposes in the past decade, causing major issues for Australia’s ecological resilience.

There are four species of kangaroos that are allowed to be commercially killed. These include the Red Kangaroo (Macropus rufus), Eastern Grey Kangaroo (M. Giganteus), Western Grey Kangaroo (M. fuliginosus) and Wallaroo (M. robustus).

Ecological Concerns

According to the Center for a Humane Economy, kangaroos are now facing localized extinction in some areas:

  • In the state of South Australia, Red Kangaroo numbers declined by more than 39% from 2018 to 2019.
  • In the South Australia’s commercial zone, Wallaroo numbers have declined by 92 percent since 2017 and Western Grey Kangaroos declined by 77 percent from 2018 to 2019.
  • In Queensland, the 2020 commercial kill in two western commercial zones was suspended as populations of Eastern Grey Kangaroos and Wallaroos declined below trigger points.

Though there is a quota limit observed to try to preserve the population and keep commercial hunting sustainable, the numbers used to establish this quota are far from precise. The estimates are gathered from an aerial count. Because spotting kangaroos can be difficult, the government presumes with a “correction factor” that there are 7 to 10 kangaroos for every one kangaroo they see. This correction inflates the population, leading to shooting quotas that are too high to maintain healthy kangaroo populations.

It also remains unknown what kind of impact climate change will continue to have, such as future fires, droughts and natural disasters as well as the lasting impact of the devastating 2020 bushfires.

Ethical Concerns

Besides the idea of killing wild animals to make shoes out of their skin, there are many ethical issues involving the way the animals are killed. The Code of Conduct calls for kangaroos to be shot in the brain to kill them instantly. However, many kangaroos are being shot in the body, suffering from the gunshot wound before slowly dying.

Because they are allowed to kill female kangaroos, many of these kangaroos are mothers to a baby Kangaroos (Joeys). If the joey is found in the mother’s pouch the Code calls for the joey to be killed with either a single blow to the head or heart. This is known to be performed by a gun, or in the case of the head a lead pipe or tow bar of a car.

This is only the half of it. According to a government report by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, a majority of joeys who were not in their mothers pouch, were now orphaned. These joeys, relying heavily on their mothers for survival, were left in the field taking up to ten days to die from either starvation, exposure or a predator.

Enforcement of Laws

Another major problem is enforcing the laws put in place to euthanize and protect the overall population. The authorities responsible for enforcing these laws are also responsible for promoting the commercial industry. Clearly, there lies a conflict of interest. Enforcement of laws and the prosecution of offenses are nearly non-existent.

The killing of kangaroos is essentially going unsupervised by officials. For instance, the Office of Environment and Heritage in New South Wales has just one inspector to cover the state’s 309,000 square miles. To compact the issue shootings often occur at night and in remote locations far from government oversight or the general public.

Join our efforts to stop this from happening by helping to cut off the marketplace demand. To make an immediate impact please sign the petition today to stop Nike from continuing to manufacture kangaroo leather shoes. And remember to make sure YOUR soccer cleats are NOT “k-leather” aka kangaroo skin!