Australia's army has started shooting 6,000 kangaroos to thin the animal population on an army training ground near the capital, an official said today, outraging conservationists who have vowed to protest. The killings are intended to protect endangered plants and insects that share the grassy habitat with the kangaroos. A much smaller slaughter of 400 kangaroos in Canberra last year was disrupted by protesters.
Civilian marksmen contracted by the department began shooting the kangaroos on Tuesday night at Defense's Majura Training Area, where an estimated 9,000 of the wild marsupials roam, an official told reporters. "The culling is intended to reduce the kangaroo population to sustainable levels," he said, describing the action as that of a "responsible landowner." The nighttime shooting is expected to continue intermittently until August.