Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Kangaroos in the backyard: A case study from the Coffs Harbour Northern Beaches, New South Wales. (#359)

Tim TH Henderson 1 , Karl KV Vernes 1 , Rajanathan RR Rajaratnam 1
  1. University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

The proximity of eastern grey kangaroos to human residents is an emerging management issue in the Coffs Harbour Northern Beaches region of New South Wales. The small rural estate of Heritage Park, located within this region, is a 'hotspot' for frequent human-kangaroo interactions. While interactions are generally positive, there have been 17 reports of kangaroo attacks since 2007. This study investigated human dimensions and kangaroo ecology to understand community perceptions towards kangaroos, and the abundance, demographics and movement patterns of kangaroos in the peri-urban environment. Heritage Park residents were surveyed using an online questionnaire and responses revealed an overall positive perception of kangaroos. However, there were concerns among residents on potential conflict with kangaroos, especially large males, as well as concerns for vehicle collisions. Responses also showed a lack of educational exposure on how to coexist peacefully with kangaroos. Kangaroos were counted every two months throughout 2016 and abundance ranged from 260 individuals in June to 312 individuals in October. GPS telemetry units were also used to monitor the movement patterns of 14 male kangaroos. Kangaroos primarily occurred within the peri-urban landscape, with some individuals occupying the surrounding forests for short periods of time. On average, kangaroos occupied 4.6 properties per day and showed temporal shifts in their proximity to housing, being closer to houses overnight and further away during the day. The results of this research increased our understanding of peri-urban kangaroos to assist in the development of appropriate management strategies with a focus on Heritage Park.