The role of landholders in kangaroo harvesting is an issue that has been revisited often over time as circumstances continue to change within the kangaroo industry, within rural communities and within national and international conservation frameworks. It is again time to assess the state of play. The kangaroo industry has, after more than 30 years of operation, a legitimate claim to being sustainable. But where does it stand in relation to current international thinking on sustainable use and in relation to the broader conservation goals for Australia's rangeland environments?
This paper presents strategies for linking the kangaroo harvest with conservation in the sheep rangelands through models that can provide economic returns and a greater management role for landholders in the kangaroo industry. According to the principles of conservation through sustainable use (CSU), when local people receive direct economic returns from the sustainable use of wildlife, they can gain incentives to undertake species and habitat conservation. This is not happening with kangaroo harvesting at present and if it is to be achieved we need improved knowledge of kangaroo grazing dynamics, increased valuing of kangaroo products, pathways for landholders to engage with the industry and a clear will on the part of government agencies responsible for managing the harvest to move beyond the frameworks that have traditionally guided kangaroo management policy in Australia.