Foot-Thumping Roo Tape Could Be Aussie Farmers Hit
CANBERRA Australian farmers could protect crops and property from mobs of wild kangaroos by scaring them off with the thumping sound of the animals' own large feet on the ground, a new study said.
Kangaroos, conservatively estimated at more than 57 million or nearly three animals to every Australian, damage crops and property and compete with livestock for food and water.
Melbourne University researcher Helena Bender compared the current deterrents used by farmers -- artificial high pitched squeals -- with a recording of a kangaroo thumping its foot. The marsupials do this when they sense danger before taking flight.
Bender's report, published in the Wildlife Research journal, found that the animals' own alarm signal was much more effective at scaring off the eastern grey kangaroos targeted during tests than the artificial sounds, which they grew used to.
"The foot thump shows potential as a deterrent of eastern grey kangaroos ... and is less likely to suffer from habituation because it is a natural sound," Bender said.
Australia culls millions of kangaroos each year but their number keeps increasing as the marsupials are sturdy animals capable of surviving in the harsh outback environment.