Kangaroos have evolved to become Australia’s top herbivore and largest marsupial, uniquely adapted to Australian ecosystems. Marsupials are pouched mammals.
Kangaroo species establish strong, extended family groups called mobs. The matrilineal bond is one of the key ways in which mob culture is preserved. Patterns of play and social interaction outside and beyond the pouch continue this process.
Stories of the boxing kangaroo, for example, have their origins in competition amongst young males leads to the eventual succession of an ‘alpha’ male to play a key role in the protection and maintenance of order within the mob, and in the genetic health and strength of the mob.
Much of a mob’s culture has to do with the landscape. Ideally – that is, until that range is disrupted or destroyed by human activity – a kangaroo mob has a range over which it moves, to which it is deeply attached. A mob’s intimate knowledge of its range is essential to the health and wellbeing of the mob as well as the health of the landscape.
Kangaroos contribute to the health of Australian landscapes, yet there is very little acknowledgement of their important ecological role they play.