NATURE: Kangaroo Mob

NATURE: Kangaroo Mob

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 10:00pm

Pictured: An uncollared kangaroo.

Credit: Courtesy of Luke Cameroon

Meet the mob of street-smart kangaroos moving into Australia’s capital city and the ecologists who follow their every move.

In the past 50 years, the eastern gray kangaroo population around Canberra, Australia’s capital city, has exploded from a few hundred to tens of thousands.  Forced from the surrounding drought-stricken hills, hungry kangaroos have done their best to adapt to city life, dining on city parks and suburban lawns— though they do pay a price for their meals.  Each year, thousands of kangaroos lose their lives in collisions with cars on busy roads, causing injuries and property damage of more than a million dollars in the process.  Overgrazing by large numbers of kangaroos has also created stress on the environment they have overrun.  It’s all led to a government policy of culling, and an emotional public dispute between those who support reducing kangaroo numbers and those who are appalled at the prospect of killing this famous and beloved Australian icon.  Can they be relocated, or can their numbers be controlled through forced contraception? 

Following the stories of several urban kangaroos in the study, Nature reveals how they manage to survive in the city.  Kangaroo Mob airs Wednesday, April 24, 2013 at 10 p.m. on WXXI-TV/HD (DT21.1/cable 11/cable 1011).  Narrated by Chris Morgan, the film profiles a new generation of metropolitan marsupials and the ongoing debate on how to manage them.  After broadcast, the episode will stream online with additional content at pbs.org/nature

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