Though it is impossible to determine the exact number, population estimates are calculated each year by the government conservation agency in each state. Nearly 40 years of refinement has led to the development of sophisticated aerial survey techniques which enable overall populations estimates to be constructed . Current estimates indicate that there may be between 35 to 50 million kangaroos in Australia. In 2002 the number of kangaroos allowed to be shot by commercial hunters was increased from 5.5 million to 7 million per year. While animal rights activists protested the move, Australian farmers claimed that kangaroos were a plague after a huge increase in their numbers. A 2002 report studying the grazing pressure caused by kangaroos indicated that scientific evidence is lacking that kangaroos reduce wool production or sheep carrying capacity. In 2007 the national kangaroo culling quota was more than 3.5 million (but significantly down on the figures earlier in the decade).
Kangaroos are protected by legislation in Australia, both state and federal. Kangaroos are harvested by licensed shooters in accordance with a strict code of practice. Meat that is exported is inspected by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS).
The kangaroo has been historically a source of food for indigenous Australians. Kangaroo meat is high in protein and low in fat (about 2%). Kangaroo meat has a very high concentration of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) when compared with other foods. CLA has been attributed with a wide range of health benefits including an anti cancer action and reducing body fats.
Kangaroo meat is stronger in flavor than the meat from commercially raised food animals. It is considered to be tender. Minced (or ground) kangaroo meat may be substituted into dishes where minced beef would normally be used.
Kangaroo meat was legalised for human consumption in South Australia in 1980, and in all other Australian states in 1993. Kangaroo was once limited in availability, although consumption in Australia is becoming more widespread. Many Australian supermarkets now stock various cuts of kangaroo including fillets, steaks, minced meat and 'kanga bangas' (kangaroo sausages).
Seventy percent of kangaroo meat is exported, particularly to the European market: Germany and France. It is sold in supermarkets in England and used in Russian sausages. The industry is worth around A$250 million annually.
The meat is also processed into dog food. Kangaroo farming is a more environmentally friendly meat industry than sheep or cattle farming since kangaroos require less feed than placental stock, are well-adapted to drought, and do not destroy the root systems of native grasses. However kangaroo farming is economically unattractive due to the start up costs and inability for the farmed product to compete financially against animals that have been killed by hunters under the government quota system.
Kangaroo scrotum purses are sold as souvenirs to tourists. This Australian item has its origins in early history. Gold prospectors and gem fossickers used the purses to safely store their findings.
The three-month competition attracted over 2700 entries from 41 nations, and the name australus was decided in December 2005. Other finalists for the name included kangarly, maroo, krou, maleen, kuja, roujoe, rooviande, jurru, ozru, marsu, kangasaurus, marsupan, jumpmeat, and MOM (meat of marsupials).
The competition is not binding on the Kangaroo Industry Association, which has not moved to adopt the new name in any official capacity.
You find kangaroos in flat country or mulga country. In the old days, people used to sool their dogs on them and spear them. The milk guts are pulled out and a wooden skewer is used to close up the carcase. Then it is tossed on top of the fire to singe the hair which is scraped off, and then it's (put in a hole and) covered up with hot earth and coals. The tail and both feet are cut off before cooking. These are put in together with the rest of the carcase.
The kangaroo is chopped up so that many people can eat it. The warm blood and fluids from the gluteus medius and the hollow of the thoracic cavity are drained of all fluids. People drink these fluids, which studies have shown are quite harmless. Kangaroos are cut in a special way; into the two thighs, the two hips, the two sides of ribs, the stomach, the head, the tail, the two feet, the back and lower back. This is the way the Arrernte people everywhere cut it up.