It may be odd to American to understand why Australian believe kangaroos are a pest. Many Americans think of kangaroos as being cute and exotic animals while Australians consider them pests since they often end up hitting the grill of their cars on the highways here. The amount of road kill on Australian highways is staggering. For example when I drove from Ayers Rock to Alice Springs I counted 37 dead kangaroos in five hours of driving. This is something I do when driving long distances in Australia, I count road kill to pass the time; that is how prolific road kill is in Australia.
I have also had my fair share of close calls hitting kangaroos as well. The kangaroos are really dumb and will follow a kangaroo in front of them even if it means getting hit by a car. So when I see one kangaroo running across the road in front of me, I slow down instantly because I know more could run out of the bush as well. Despite all this though, as an American I still enjoy the kangaroos and have not gotten tired of them yet much to the bewilderment of my colleagues.
However, according to this article Australians are finding more and more uses for their most recognizable animal:
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.
Some may find this hard to believe considering the cute factor that kangaroos possess, but I actually enjoy eating kangaroo meat and my wife does too. BBQ kangaroo meat is outstanding if you know how to cook it. The first time we grilled it we didn’t cook it right and it came out very dry. Since then my wife has figured out how to properly marinate the meat and how long to BBQ it and the meat has been outstanding. I’m all for eating more kangaroos and I hope one day I can find kangaroo meat in an American supermarket. They may be cute, but they are tasty too.