Australia is full of a variety of animals and the most important of them are kangaroos. These creatures are not found in any other continent, that is, they are endemic. Scientists have always believed that the indigenous inhabitants of the mainland cannot harm the local nature - usually animals brought from other places were blamed for this. But the opinion of scientists turned out to be erroneous, because during the observations they noticed that kangaroos destroy the soil and thereby harm plants much more than rabbits. This is a very serious problem, especially since the number of kangaroos in Australia has increased dramatically lately. Within the framework of this article, I propose to find out how these harmless-looking creatures can harm nature and why there are suddenly a lot of them. Scientists do not even know yet how to solve the problem that has arisen. But there are already solutions.
Endemics are animals and plants that live or grow only in certain places on our planet. In Australia, kangaroos, koalas, platypuses and so on are considered endemic.
Australia's nature in danger
The dangers of kangaroos were reported in the scientific journal Eurekalert. For a long time, scientists were convinced that the rabbits introduced in the 18th century were to blame for the destruction of soils and the disappearance of entire plant species. There is some truth in this, because they really multiplied strongly and made serious competition to many of the indigenous inhabitants of Australia. It is believed that by eating plants, they also have a negative effect on soil fertility. Local residents tried to solve the problem in many ways. The best result was obtained in the course of fencing - the rabbits were kept in strictly designated areas.
Rabbits in Australia have been problematic for a while
At the moment, there are many reserves in Australia where kangaroos live. In the course of observations, scientists have found that these creatures eat much more vegetation than the rabbits mentioned above. That is, they are more harmful to the local nature. And it's not just about the risk of extinction of certain plant species. The fact is that kangaroos can eat so much vegetation that other animals simply will not have food left. This can lead to the extinction of other herbivorous creatures. And the soil devoid of grass cover tends to quickly collapse. In general, Australia is not doing so well.
How many kangaroos are there in Australia?
The problem is exacerbated by the recent increase in the kangaroo population. This is due to the decline in the number of feral dingo dogs - their main enemies. Many wild dogs were shot because from time to time they attacked grazing sheep. The question arises: if kangaroos have also become a source of problems, why are they not allowed to hunt for them? This is very risky because nature can respond in unexpected ways. For example, a sharp decline in kangaroos can increase the number of other, more problematic animals. So before announcing kangaroo shooting, scientists should consider many factors.
Fun fact: Australia has 2.5 times more kangaroos than people. According to statistics, 57 million kangaroos live there. Most likely, today this number is even higher.
It is worth noting that in some cases the kangaroo is still hunted. Local residents perceive the kangaroo as something ordinary. They are something like cows and sheep for the inhabitants of Russia - no wonder. Kangaroo meat is used in cooking. It has a deep red color and a strong odor. But at the same time, it is very clean, because in nature, animals are rarely exposed to chemicals. People who have tried kangaroo meat dishes note that it tastes like a cross between pork and beef.
You can buy kangaroo meat in shops in some countries.
What were the ancestors of kangaroos?
Kangaroos have appeared in Australia since time immemorial. The ancestors of modern species were very tall, and their body weight reached 200 kilograms. They had a short muzzle that allowed them to chew on solid food. According to scientists, today only pandas and koalas have such strong jaws. The ancestors of kangaroos had to eat solid food, because other herbivorous animals quickly ate soft foods. I already wrote more about ancient kangaroos in this article. So what is it, maybe the descendants of these giants just began to avenge their ancestors?
The ancestors of modern kangaroos looked something like this