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Annual kangaroo survey takes to the skies again

News release
18 June 2014

Posted 18 June 2014.

One of the world’s longest-running wildlife surveys has started again, with kangaroo counters set to scan about 207,000km of South Australia over the next five weeks.

Staff from the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR) began the annual aerial kangaroo survey on 16 June to provide a snapshot of kangaroo populations across much of the South Australian landscape.

This survey, which was first carried out in 1978, covers both pastoral and agricultural areas, beginning in the east of the state between Burra and Renmark, moving north to around the Flinders Ranges and up to Coober Pedy then finishing over Eyre Peninsula.

DEWNR’s Kangaroo Management Operations Manager, Tom Gerschwitz, says community members should not be worried if they see a low flying aircraft doing east-west transects across properties.

“While this is the most efficient way to count kangaroos, we understand that it must be a puzzling sight for people who see us in action,” he says.

Two trained observers sit in the rear of a Cessna 206 and scan the landscape, counting kangaroos in a 200m wide strip each side of the aircraft, surveying one square kilometre every 97 seconds.

Emus, goats, camels and donkeys are also counted, contributing to a greater understanding of the distribution and abundance of these animals across the landscape.

Information collected during the survey is used to develop population estimates to set quotas in the commercial harvest area for kangaroos.Weather permitting, it should be complete by 21 July.

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