The wild kangaroo population in Australia, has reached concerning levels to the point where locals are being urged to eat more kangaroo meat.
A government figure shows in 2016, there were almost 45 million kangaroos hopping around the country. This is nearly double the human population in Australia. In 2010, the number of the kangaroo population was only 27 million.
Due to a rise of rainy days producing an abundant amount of food, kangaroos became less desirable to use for sustenance. Now landholders and ecologists fear the overpopulation could have detrimental effects on the environment and the lives of locals, if the kangaroo population does not get under control.
The meat of kangaroo is low in fat and produces less of the greenhouse gas methane than cattle. The jumping feet of the kangaroos are also far less damaging to the frail topsoil than the hooves of cattle.
If locals do not get on board, there is fear that a long, hot summer could produce a drought, which could lead to the starvation of millions.
It might take a little more convincing before Australians begin eating their national animal. Kangaroos are a protected species in Australia, however they are still hunted by professionals. However, the culled kangaroos are typically used for their hides while the carcasses remain to rot, due to lack of demand.
University of St. Francis student and Australian local, Iain Morison said, “I’ve tried kangaroo meat a few times in my life and for the most part I wasn’t a fan, it was tough and a strong gamey taste to it, I feel that kangaroo meat will never be a big meat dish in Australia because it is an acquired taste.”
In an interview with ABC, Professor David Paton of the University of Adelaide warned, that people needed to support kangaroo culling to protect other parts of the country's ecology and avoid wasting carcasses.
He went on to say, "It's not the kangaroos' fault they're overabundant, it's probably we've just been too reluctant to take a stick to them, remove them out of the system sooner, to actually prevent the damage being caused,"
As many Australians would agree he finally noted, "If we're going to cull these animals we do it humanely, but we also perhaps should think about what we might use the animals that are killed for."
If anyone is visiting Australia, expect to see kangaroo meat prominently displayed on menus and in stores across the nation.