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Australia mulls kangaroo cull

Australia's government is considering a request to cull more than 3,000 kangaroos on Defence department properties on the outskirts of Canberra.

Australia's government is considering a request to cull more than 3,000 kangaroos ongovernment propertieson the outskirts of Canberra.

Defence Department officials want to hire professional hunters to kill the eastern grey kangaroos, which are eating through the grassy habitats of endangered species on the properties.

The roughly 6,500 animals on the two properties, whichare facing starvation because of the drought, are causing permanent damage to the sites andthreatening endangered species including the grassland earless dragon, striped legless lizard and golden sun moth, officials said.

Underthe DefenceDepartment request, about 3,200 of the kangaroos would be shot by July.

Animal rights groups have criticized the cull as needless, cruel and violent.

John Hargreaves, the acting environment minister,said a decision has not been reached.

Australian government officials have acknowledged a population explosion among eastern grey kangaroos, which can grow to the size of a human.

Some areas of the Australian Capital Territory have as many as 450 kangaroos a square kilometre— the densest kangaroo population ever measured in the region.

Experiments aimed at reducing the kangaroos' fertility have been unsuccessful.

With files from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation

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