Kangaroos in Canberra could be given six-years' contraception via darts instead of being killed

Photo: Paula Bronstein/ Getty Images.

Canberra will trial a new alternative program for culling kangaroos in the state, using a contraceptive delivered to the animal by dart.

About 2000 eastern grey kangaroos at 10 sites will be involved in the “GonaCon” trial from July.

The initiative is an attempt by the ACT Government to find alternatives to its controversial culling program.

Last year Canberra’s annual kangaroo cull targeted 1606 kangaroos, 450 more than 2013. A total of 1,519 animals were shot at eight reserves, just short of the target.

The cull numbers were based on scientific counts in each location and the sustainable carrying capacity for each area.

GonaCon injections are hoped to proved a cheaper, more efficient and more humane way of controlling the ACT’s kangaroo populations.

While it has been proved that GonaCon is highly effective in providing contraception for the kangaroo for a period of up to six years, delivering the treatment via dart will be an Australian-first. GonaCon has been used overseas to stop female deer, bison and boar producing young.

“If we can develop a meaningful and effective alternative to lethal means that would be good, because no one likes the culling of kangaroo numbers,” Environment Minister Simon Corbell told 666 ABC Canberra.

The CSIRO, the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and the ACT Government will be responsible for the trial which is estimated to cost $530,000 over two years.

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