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Kangaroo survey takes to the air above regional SA

South Australia’s northern kangaroo populations will be surveyed with a light aircraft taking to the air this month as part of an annual survey.

Kangaroo survey takes to the air above regional SA
DEW Aerial Observers Christine Arnold and Allira Taylor-Wilkins prepare to board the flight.

This year’s aerial survey will run from 8-15 July and cover the North East Pastoral, Eastern Districts, Northern Flinders and Southern Flinders regions.

During this time landowners and the community may notice a small aircraft flying at a low level conducting east to west survey routes.

Department for Environment and Water (DEW) Senior Kangaroo Ecologist Dr Amanda McLean said kangaroo numbers have increased substantially since European settlement, benefitting from increased access to water, grazing land and the removal of their main predator, the dingo.

“Aerial surveys of kangaroo populations in South Australia have been running annually since 1978, covering a survey area of at least 207,000km2,” Dr McLean said

“These kangaroo population estimates inform the commercial quota which allows for the sustainable harvest of the species.

“Last year the surveys produced a population estimate of 3.9 million kangaroos in the commercial harvest zone in SA.

Kangaroo survey takes to the air above regional SA

“Based on current climate conditions, populations are likely to be similar this year or perhaps slightly lower in some areas where vegetation is beginning to die off due to the lack of rain the state is experiencing.

“The state-wide survey will provide valuable insights into kangaroo numbers across the landscape, which will help inform harvest quotas across the state for the coming year.”

Dr McLean said a range of other non-native animals including goats, camels and deer would also be counted during the survey, providing data to assist with landscape management and control of pest species in the regions.

More information about kangaroo management can be found on the DEW website.

Public consultation is currently open on a draft South Australian Commercial Kangaroo Management Plan 2025-2029 via the YourSAy platform.