Exclusion fencing is any kind of sturdy, meshed fencing – typically around 1.5 metres high but sometimes up to 2.4 metres (8 feet). This fencing prevents the movement of animals from one area to another. Exclusion fences also have barbed wire strands along their top and bottom skirting so that any animal that attempts to dig under will be injured or become entangled.
There has been a massive surge in the use of exclusion fencing across Queensland and South-Eastern Australia in the last 5years. This is being driven by the Federal and NSW governments which are promoting and subsidising this fencing to assist landholders in “protecting”their sheep and cattle properties from native animals such as dingoes, emus and kangaroos and wallabies. Exclusion Fencing is extremely expensive to purchase and install.
These fences are being used to reduce kangaroo populations by cutting them off from access to food and watering points. Excluded animals are then left to disperse or die slowly of dehydration, starvation, exposure or predation. There has even been evidence that the fences have been used to trap kangaroos inside properties so that they can be rounded up, shot and killed or poisoned. The NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report outlined various incidences of landholders using helicopters to aerially shoot kangaroos or run them up against the fences and use quad runners where shooters with shotguns will shoot them along the fence.
The use of cluster fencing (where multiple landholders install fences on multiple properties) is even more insidious-trapping wildlife and cutting off access to water and food sources over huge areas.
A recent global review of scientific literature on the subject found that this type of fencing not only kills and injures large numbers of wildlife but that they also prevent the free movement and migration of wildlife across large areas of their natural ranges an essential part of maintaining the health of wildlife populations. This limits the range of species and fragments vital habitat and ecosystems.
IKPA considers the impacts of exclusion fencing on kangaroo populations need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
IKPA is calling for a moratorium on erecting any further exclusion fencing pending an independent scientific assessment of the potential long term wildlife health and welfare impacts and the broader ecological consequences of these fences.