KANGAROOS are no longer a pest but a valuable source of income for rural communities, a new study has found.
Adelaide University PhD student Dana Thomsen has examined the economic and social issues related to commercial kangaroo harvesting for the past five years.
She said that far from being a pest, kangaroos were now regarded as a valuable resource by graziers.
"Commercial harvesting of kangaroos, originally used as a form of pest control to reduce the pressure on grazing lands, is now a significant industry that directly employs around 4000 people and contributes up to $230 million a year to the Australian economy," Ms Thomsen said.
Kangaroo meat and skins are now exported to 60 countries and the market is growing.
Kangaroo pelts are highly sought after in Europe for clothing, shoes and accessories while kangaroo meat is lauded for its low fat, high protein health benefits.
Ms Thomsen said the commercial kangaroo industry was also considered by natural resource scientists as one of the few rural industries that provided economic benefits with minimal impact on the environment.
But she warned that Aboriginal communities needed to be consulted more widely in regard to kangaroo management.
"Kangaroos are culturally significant to Aboriginal people and it's important we include them in the decision-making process," Ms Thomsen said.
"Part of my research involves promoting a better understanding between non-indigenous industry stakeholders and Aboriginal people so we can market the industry as not only clean and green, but also socially just."
(By the way, to the overseas people who are told we "skin our kangaroos alive" don't believe it. It's takes a very strong and stupid man to skin a kangaroo alive, can you imagine the kicking? That's why we get the women to do it. mwhahahaha)