Kangaroos sour vintage in Australia’s Margaret River

Wineries in Margaret River are trying to minimise the damage caused by a rising Kangaroo population invading the vineyards as harvest for the new vintage gets underway.

Margaret River kangaroo control operator Peter Stonehouse told local newspaper The West Australian that culling kangaroos is receiving higher demand among vineyard operators leading up to the new vintage.

He said there was a “definite increase” in kangaroo populations, with the animals capable of eating up to 150kg of grapes a day.

Vineyard owners however, are reluctant to speak out about the pest, fearing a backlash of public opinion and resulting damages for winery tourism.

Some vineyards have installed exclusion fences but fencing is not always successful in keeping the kangaroos out with shooting a last resort to maintain profits.

Despite concern among producers, a local animal conservationist group has rejected claims of a Kangaroo population boom, stating instead that there are “catastrophically low densities across most of the State” in south west Australia.

“In regards to claims that kangaroos are a pest and cause damage to agriculture and forests, there is no scientific evidence to support this, with various independent and government research reports confirming that kangaroos do not cause the damage to agriculture that is often claimed,” said Australian Society for Kangaroos’ Nikki Sutterby.

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