Some Pokolbin vineyards have started a roo cull to protect vines

CONTROVERSIAL: A kangaroo cull has started in Pokolbin as roos hone in on vines that have started to shoot.
CONTROVERSIAL: A kangaroo cull has started in Pokolbin as roos hone in on vines that have started to shoot.

A kangaroo cull has started around Pokolbin vineyards as the starving animals move in to feed on grape vines that have started to shoot.

Fairfax Media reported recently how vignerons may soon be left with no alternative but to start shooting kangaroos, desperately searching for food as the region remains in the grip of one of the worst droughts on record.

Fast running out of green pick, roos are honing in on vineyards waiting for the September bud burst when they are guaranteed food.

The Office of Environment (OEH) and Heritage confirmed that since the NSW Government’s changes to landholder licensing to control kangaroos came into effect on August 8, land owners across the area have applied for licenses to shoot the animals.

“Land owners and farmers may take the opportunity to reduce the economic pressures that protected animals place on their commercial operations by applying for a license,” an OEH spokesperson said. “Any new licenses are effective immediately.” 

Bruce Tyrrell of Tyrrell’s Wine said he has hired licensed shooters to start culling around his vineyards. “We’ve done a little bit of culling,” he said. “There are more wallabies than anything. Since that bit of recent rain we had, numbers have dwindled a little but that may only be short term,” he said. Mr Tyrrell said vines have only just started to shoot – about three week’s behind last year’s bud burst.

Agnew Wines chief winemaker Jeff Byrne said their cull has been held off. “We’ve held off progressing things after we had 32mm of rain recently which helped and hopefully has provided kangaroos with a green alternative to shoots,” he said.

Changes to the licensing aim to assist landholders manage the impact of roos during drought while maintaining animal welfare standards. They include: Increased limits on the number that may be culled (based on property size), more shooters may operate under each licence and allow the use of carcasses for non-commercial purposes.