A tiny town in regional Queensland, Australia, is fighting off a horde of kangaroos, with locals saying there are simply “too many to count.”
Maaroom, perched just south of Hervey Bay, is home to just 219 people — and a seemingly endless population of kangaroos.
Residents say they have been walking around with sticks to fend off the feisty marsupials, who they fear will pounce on unsuspecting victims.
“They’re constantly hopping around the park in between caravans,” Caravan Park manager Karen Sutcliffe told the ABC. “People are walking around with a big stick now. I‘ve been wanting to go fishing for an afternoon but I won’t do that, just in case a kangaroo gets me.”
“They‘re just so quick you don’t know where they are,” Sutcliffe said.
Local Mark Sidaway said the recent spout of torrential rain had ballooned the kangaroo population in the region.
“The last couple of years we‘ve had La Niña where we get a lot more rain and conditions are conducive to grass growing and we all manage our lawns very well,” he said.
“Some people are very good mowers and they keep it shorter, which means fewer kangaroos in your yard, and if you don‘t mow as regularly, you’re going to get big herds coming into your yard.”
“They‘ve multiplied because we have provided a Sizzler smorgasbord for them. Hopefully, people get the message and stop mistreating them, and maybe the other person walking down the street doesn‘t get belted,” said Sidaway.
DES manager for southern wildlife operations Frank Mills said Maaroom is facing a somewhat unique scenario, revealing a number of attacks had been by female kangaroos which are known to be less aggressive.
“While there actually are quite a few attacks with kangaroos in Queensland, mostly they’re dealing with male kangaroos and it’s usually a territorial or a mating display,” Mr. Mills said. All of these issues have been with female kangaroos with a joey at foot.”
“We‘ve counted more than 60 to 80 kangaroos on any given day within the town itself and the local forests that surround that wouldn’t support that many kangaroos.”
Mr. Mills warned residents against feeding their feisty neighbors.
“This can have a negative effect and actually encourage them to get closer to humans,” he said. “The other thing that we‘ve had reported is that there are other people in the town who are potentially using things like gel blasters to discourage kangaroos.”
“That can have a negative effect on how those animals feel about humans and it may make them more aggressive,” Mills said.
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