Ammo Shortage Causing Australia’s Kangaroo Population To Explode

by Emily Morgan
Photo by: Scott Gibbons

It’s a great time to be a kangaroo in the Australian state of Queensland. According to reports, the kangaroo population in the area is at an all-time high due to the international ammunition shortage. Due to manufacturing delays during COVID-19 and compounded by the war in Ukraine, the lack of ammunition has more than annoyed farmers. It’s also hurt farmers who hire shooters to control kangaroo populations on their farms.

In addition, the area’s recent heavy rainfall and the increased use of fencing haven’t helped the problem. The fences, which keep animals from looming predators like foxes, have unfortunately kept kangaroos inside farm boundaries. As a result, they can have babies quickly.

In this area of the continent, hired workers take red kangaroos, eastern grey kangaroos, and wallaroos for commercial and non-commercial purposes. However, officials put in place quotas through government-issued permits.

In addition, cattle and sheep farmers often hire contract shooters with permits to cull kangaroos. Robert Ellis, a contract kangaroo hunter, told local outlets that in his 11 years working in the industry, he’s never seen an ammunition shortage such as this one.

“Before this, you could get whatever you wanted for under half the price,” he said. “But it’s hard to get anything [now]. Gun stores will get a big shipment and it’s gone within a couple of days. Everyone is trying to buy bulk, not just kangaroo shooters.”

Queensland area of Australia absolutely crushed as wild kangaroo populations continue to grow

Ellis added that he had to drive more than 400 miles to buy ammo because of the shortage. Ellis also said he would be out hunting during a typical year every night, shooting approximately 70 kangaroos every evening.

“I’ve only shot for half the year because of the rain, and it can only take half an inch now, and you’re stuck [at home] for another week.”

At the same time, Aussie Mike Pratt said there are now about 10,000 kangaroos living on his 37,000-acre property. Red kangaroos are also the largest marsupial species. They stand up to six feet tall and can weigh up to 200 pounds.

The animals are also insatiable eaters and can significantly alter precious environments. They voraciously consume vegetation usually reserved for other animals, such as sheep and cattle.

However, Pratt hopes to see the native animal population continue to thrive in this part of Australia. However, he stresses the importance that moderation is key. “We don’t want to completely remove the kangaroos, but you really have to keep a balanced population,” he said. “They’re entitled to be there. But they need to be managed for not only the benefit of the stock but for the benefit of their own survival.”