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Over the last twenty years, kangaroo harvesting has gained much greater public acceptance and risen in monetary value. However, most landholders still regard kangaroos mainly as pests, and are a long way from making enough money from kangaroos to encourage any shift away from their focus on sheep. Yet kangaroo meat is now sold legally for human consumption in all Australian States and is common on restaurant menus, while its export is rising steadily. Extensive aerial surveys have established the abundance of the three large kangaroo species and their resilience to harvesting. A small number of landholders are benefiting from kangaroos, either by selling access to shooters/processors or through direct involvement as licensed operators. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has supported the concept of achieving conservation benefits from the sustainable use of wildlife, and this has been incorporated into kangaroo management programs (for leather and meat) by most Australian governments. Despite all these positives, the low price of kangaroo meat, which has still not found the place it deserves on the international game meat market, is a major impediment to implementing “sheep replacement therapy for rangelands”, and only when prices rise significantly will landholders choose to reduce sheep numbers and invest their hopes in kangaroos. Meanwhile, land degradation continues unabated and low prices for coarse fibre wool, while encouraging woolgrowers in the sheep rangelands to overstock, also provide a stimulus to landholders to diversify. Alarmingly, many landholders are choosing to diversify into goats which, though profitable in the short term, will extend the damage done by sheep.

Low prices for wool from the sheep rangelands also amplify the clamour for kangaroo control, and governments are responding by researching or implementing programs designed to significantly reduce kangaroo numbers. South Australia now has a program which, if implemented fully, would reduce kangaroos by 60%. In Queensland and NSW, research projects are examining more effective ways to reduce kangaroo numbers. These goals reflect an acceptance of the folklore that competition from kangaroos compromises wool production and markedly reduces sheep carrying capacity, even though scientific evidence for this is lacking.

But reducing kangaroos will not bring the anticipated benefits to woolgrowers, because kangaroos at typical densities are a much smaller component of the total grazing pressure (TGP) than is generally assumed. This is because the factor of 0.7 DSE (dry sheep equivalent), by which kangaroo numbers are translated into forage lost to sheep, is an overestimate. Taking body weights into account the factor should be about 0.4 and, taking measurements of field metabolic rate into account, may be as low as 0.15-0.2. Hence, even if the desired reductions in kangaroos could be achieved, there would be little or no difference to the economic viability of woolgrowers in the sheep rangelands. Furthermore, if governments decide to institute significant reductions in kangaroos without data to confirm the conservation and economic benefits of doing so, there will probably be strong criticism from conservation and animal rights organisations as well as from Australians at large, and this approach may have to be abandoned.

For these reasons, the focus of kangaroo management as pest control aimed at improving wool productivity is doomed to failure. I still support the alternative view that the best way to reduce grazing pressure on the rangelands is by reducing sheep, and that the best way to achieve this is to develop a market for a high-value kangaroo industry and to sell its monopoly product on the world market for game meat. A significant increase in the value of kangaroo meat could make the harvest of free-range kangaroos for skins and meat a profitable and ecologically desirable enterprise for landholders. This would harness economic incentives in the service of ecological sustainability and rangeland rehabilitation and thus provide another example of achieving conservation goals through the sustainable use of wildlife. Furthermore, the development of a high value, sustainable kangaroo industry stands in sharp contrast to the fatalism of some ecological commentators who can only prescribe mass closure of Australian rural communities and essentially evacuating marginal country. What is needed to achieve these desirable social, economic and conservation goals is a strong marketing effort and I provide some suggestions about the attributes of kangaroo meat and the benefits of kangaroo harvesting which could feature in a marketing campaign.

Alexander, P., Last, P. and Arnold, C. 1999. Kangaroo harvesting quotas - South Australia. Unpublished internal document referred to with permission. National Parks and Wildlife, South Australia. (obtainable on request)
Arnold, S. 1988. The morality of harvesting kangaroos. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Pp.143-6. Australian Zoologist 24 (3): 121-93.
Bennett, M. B. 1999. Foot areas, ground reaction forces and pressures beneath the feet of kangaroos, wallabies and rat kangaroos (Marsupialia: Macropodoidea). Journal of Zoology (London) 247:365-9.
Calaby, J. H. and Grigg, G. C. 1989. Changes in macropodoid communities and populations in the past 200 years, and the future. In “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”, Vol. 2. (Eds G. Grigg, P. Jarman and I. Hume.). Pp.813-20. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Caughley, G., Grigg, G. C. and Short, J. 1983. How many kangaroos? Search 14: 151-2.
Caughley, G. 1987a. Ecological relationships. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.159-87. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Caughley, G. 1987b. Introduction to the sheep rangelands. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.11-13. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Croft, D. B. 2000. Sustainable use of wildlife in western New South Wales: possibilities and problems. Rangeland Journal 22(1): 88-104.
Dawson, T. J. and Hulbert, A. J. 1970. Standard metabolism, body temperature and surface areas of Australian marsupials. American Journal of Physiology 218: 1233-8.
Dawson, T. J. and Taylor, C. R. 1973. Energetic cost of locomotion in kangaroos. Nature 246:313-4.
Edwards, G. P., Croft, D. B. and Dawson, T. J. 1995. The dietary overlap between red kangaroos ( Macropus rufus) and sheep ( Ovis aries) in the arid rangelands of Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 20: 324-34.
Edwards, G. P., Croft, D. B. and Dawson, T. J. 1996. Competition between red kangaroos ( Macropus rufus) and sheep ( Ovis aries) in the arid rangelands of Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 21: 165-72.
Fanning, F. D. and Dawson, T. J. 1989. The use of heart rate telemetry in the measurement of energy expenditure in free-ranging red kangaroos. In “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”, Vol. 1. (Eds G. Grigg, P. Jarman and I. Hume.). Pp.239-44. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Fletcher, M., Southwell, C. J., Sheppard, N. W., Caughley, G., Grice, D., Grigg, G. C. and Beard, L. A. 1990. Kangaroo population trends in the Australian rangelands, 1980-87. Search 21: 28-9.
Gibson, L. M. and Young, M. D. 1988. “Kangaroos: Counting the Cost. The Economic Effects of Kangaroo Culling On Agricultural Production”. CSIRO, Melbourne.
Grigg, G. 1984. Roo harvesting. Are kangaroos really under threat? Australian Natural History 21: 123-7.
Grigg, G. C. 1987. Kangaroos - a better economic base for our marginal grazing lands? Australian Zoologist 24: 73-80.
Grigg, G. 1988. Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of the sheep rangelands. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Pp.124-8. Australian Zoologist 24(3): 121-93.
Grigg, G. C. 1997. A crossroads in kangaroo politics. Australian Biologist 10: 12-22.
Grigg, G. C., L. A. Beard, G. J. Caughley, D. Grice, J. A. Caughley, N. Shepherd, M. Fletcher and C. Southwell, 1985. The Australian kangaroo populations, 1984. Search 16:277-9.
Grigg, G., Jarman, P. and Hume, I. (eds) 1989. “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Grigg, G. C., Hale, P. T. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1995. “Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife”. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Grigg, G. C., Beard, L., Alexander, P., Pople A. R. and Cairns, S. C. 1999. Aerial survey of kangaroos in South Australia 1978-1998; a brief report focusing on methodology. Australian Zoologist 31: 292-300.
Grigg, G. C. and Pople, A. R. 2001. Sustainable use and pest control in conservation: kangaroos as a case study. In “Conservation of Exploited Species” (Eds J. Reynolds, G. Mace, K. Redford and J. Robinson). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (In press).
Hacker, R. B., McLeod, S. R. and Druhan, J. P. 2000. An exploratory analysis of the effects of kangaroo harvesting on pastoral productivity in the Murray-Darling basin. Unpublished paper presented at “Living Within Limits: Bright Ideas”. Queensland Conservation Groups’ Annual Conference.
Lifson, N. and McClintock, R. 1996. Theory of use of the turnover rates of body water for measuring energy and material balance. Journal of Theoretical Biology 12:46-74.
Lunney, D. 1994a. Review of official attitudes to western new South Wales 1901-1993 with particular reference to the fauna. In “Future of the Fauna of Western New South Wales” (Eds D. Lunney, S. Hand, P. Reed and D. Butcher). Pp.1-26. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.
Lunney, D. 1994b. Royal Commission of 1901 on the western lands of New South Wales - an ecologist's summary. In “Future of the Fauna of Western New South Wales” (Eds D. Lunney, S. Hand, P. Reed and D. Butcher). Pp.221-40. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Sydney.
Lunney, D. 1995. Kangaroo harvesting in the context of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and biodiversity conservation. In “Conservation through the sustainable use of wildlife” (Eds G. C. Grigg, P. T. Hale and D. Lunney). Pp. 166-175. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Lunney, D. and Grigg, G. C. (eds) 1988. “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium”. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24: 121-93.
Lunney, D., Hand, S., Reed, P. and Butcher, D. (eds) 1994. “Future of the Fauna of New South Wales”. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman.
Lunney, D. 2001. Causes of the extinction of native mammals of the Western Division of NSW: an ecological interpretation of the nineteenth century historical record. Rangeland Journal 23:44-70.
McLeod, S. 1996. The foraging behaviour of the arid zone herbivores the red kangaroo ( Macropus rufus) and the sheep ( Ovis aries) and its role in their competitive interaction, population dynamics and life-history strategies. Ph.D Thesis, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Nagy, K. A. 1980. CO2 production in animals: analysis of potential errors in the doubly labelled water method. American Journal of Physiology 238: R466-73.
Nagy, K. A. 1987. Field metabolic rate and food requirement scaling in mammals and birds. Ecological Monographs 57(2): 111-28.
Noble, J. C. and Tongway D. J. 1986. Herbivores in arid and semi-arid rangelands. In “Australian Soils: The Human Impact” (Eds J. S. Russel and R. F. Isbell). Pp.243-70. University of Queensland Press, Brisbane.
Norbury, G. L. and Norbury, D. C. 1993. The distribution of red kangaroos in relation to range regeneration. The Rangeland Journal 15: 3-11.
O'Dea, K. 1988. Kangaroo meat - polyunsaturated and low in fat: ideal for cholesterol-lowering diets. Australian Zoologist 24: 140-3.
Pople, A. R. 1996. Effects of harvesting upon the demography of red kangaroos in western Queensland. Ph.D Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Pople, A. R. and Grigg, G. C. 1998. Commercial harvesting of kangaroos in Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/bg/plants/wildlife/roo/roobg.htm. Document prepared for Environment Australia and published only on the WWW.
Rawlinson, P. 1988. Kangaroo conservation and kangaroo harvesting: intrinsic value versus instrumental value of wildlife. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Pp.129-37. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24(3): 121-93.
Short, J. 1985. The functional response of kangaroos, sheep and rabbits in an arid grazing system. Journal of Applied Ecology 22: 435-47.
Short, J. 1987. Factors affecting food intake of rangelands herbivores. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.84-99. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Sinclair, A. J. 1988. Nutritional properties of kangaroo meat. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Pp.121-93. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24: 146-8.
Sinclair, R. 1996. Mulga regeneration at Koonamore. In ‘Focus On the Future - The Heat Is On!’. (Eds L. P. Hunt and R. Sinclair.) pp. 255-6. (Australian Rangeland Society: Adelaide.)
Switala, J. P. 1995. The potential supply and value of kangaroo meat. In “Conservation through the sustainable use of wildlife” (Eds G. C. Grigg, D. Lunney and P. T. Hale). Pp.237-42. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Southwell, C. J., Cairns, S. C., Palmer, R., Delaney, R. and Broers, R. 1997. Abundance of large macropods in the eastern highlands of Australia. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25: 125-32.
Wilson, A. D. 1991. Forage utilization by sheep and kangaroos in a semi-arid woodland. The Rangeland Journal 13: 81-90.
Wilson, M. 1999. “The kangaroo betrayed”. Hill of Content Publishing, Melbourne.
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References

Alexander, P., Last, P. and Arnold, C. 1999. Kangaroo harvesting quotas - South Australia. Unpublished internal document referred to with permission. National Parks and Wildlife, South Australia. (obtainable on request)
Arnold, S. 1988. The morality of harvesting kangaroos. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Pp.143-6. Australian Zoologist 24 (3): 121-93.
Bennett, M. B. 1999. Foot areas, ground reaction forces and pressures beneath the feet of kangaroos, wallabies and rat kangaroos (Marsupialia: Macropodoidea). Journal of Zoology (London) 247:365-9.
Calaby, J. H. and Grigg, G. C. 1989. Changes in macropodoid communities and populations in the past 200 years, and the future. In “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”, Vol. 2. (Eds G. Grigg, P. Jarman and I. Hume.). Pp.813-20. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Caughley, G., Grigg, G. C. and Short, J. 1983. How many kangaroos? Search 14: 151-2.
Caughley, G. 1987a. Ecological relationships. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.159-87. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Caughley, G. 1987b. Introduction to the sheep rangelands. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.11-13. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Croft, D. B. 2000. Sustainable use of wildlife in western New South Wales: possibilities and problems. Rangeland Journal 22(1): 88-104.
Dawson, T. J. and Hulbert, A. J. 1970. Standard metabolism, body temperature and surface areas of Australian marsupials. American Journal of Physiology 218: 1233-8.
Dawson, T. J. and Taylor, C. R. 1973. Energetic cost of locomotion in kangaroos. Nature 246:313-4.
Edwards, G. P., Croft, D. B. and Dawson, T. J. 1995. The dietary overlap between red kangaroos ( Macropus rufus) and sheep ( Ovis aries) in the arid rangelands of Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 20: 324-34.
Edwards, G. P., Croft, D. B. and Dawson, T. J. 1996. Competition between red kangaroos ( Macropus rufus) and sheep ( Ovis aries) in the arid rangelands of Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 21: 165-72.
Fanning, F. D. and Dawson, T. J. 1989. The use of heart rate telemetry in the measurement of energy expenditure in free-ranging red kangaroos. In “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”, Vol. 1. (Eds G. Grigg, P. Jarman and I. Hume.). Pp.239-44. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Fletcher, M., Southwell, C. J., Sheppard, N. W., Caughley, G., Grice, D., Grigg, G. C. and Beard, L. A. 1990. Kangaroo population trends in the Australian rangelands, 1980-87. Search 21: 28-9.
Gibson, L. M. and Young, M. D. 1988. “Kangaroos: Counting the Cost. The Economic Effects of Kangaroo Culling On Agricultural Production”. CSIRO, Melbourne.
Grigg, G. 1984. Roo harvesting. Are kangaroos really under threat? Australian Natural History 21: 123-7.
Grigg, G. C. 1987. Kangaroos - a better economic base for our marginal grazing lands? Australian Zoologist 24: 73-80.
Grigg, G. 1988. Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of the sheep rangelands. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Pp.124-8. Australian Zoologist 24(3): 121-93.
Grigg, G. C. 1997. A crossroads in kangaroo politics. Australian Biologist 10: 12-22.
Grigg, G. C., L. A. Beard, G. J. Caughley, D. Grice, J. A. Caughley, N. Shepherd, M. Fletcher and C. Southwell, 1985. The Australian kangaroo populations, 1984. Search 16:277-9.
Grigg, G., Jarman, P. and Hume, I. (eds) 1989. “Kangaroos, Wallabies and Rat-Kangaroos”. Surrey Beatty and Sons, Sydney.
Grigg, G. C., Hale, P. T. and Lunney, D. (eds) 1995. “Conservation Through Sustainable Use of Wildlife”. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Grigg, G. C., Beard, L., Alexander, P., Pople A. R. and Cairns, S. C. 1999. Aerial survey of kangaroos in South Australia 1978-1998; a brief report focusing on methodology. Australian Zoologist 31: 292-300.
Grigg, G. C. and Pople, A. R. 2001. Sustainable use and pest control in conservation: kangaroos as a case study. In “Conservation of Exploited Species” (Eds J. Reynolds, G. Mace, K. Redford and J. Robinson). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge (In press).
Hacker, R. B., McLeod, S. R. and Druhan, J. P. 2000. An exploratory analysis of the effects of kangaroo harvesting on pastoral productivity in the Murray-Darling basin. Unpublished paper presented at “Living Within Limits: Bright Ideas”. Queensland Conservation Groups’ Annual Conference.
Lifson, N. and McClintock, R. 1996. Theory of use of the turnover rates of body water for measuring energy and material balance. Journal of Theoretical Biology 12:46-74.
Lunney, D. 1994a. Review of official attitudes to western new South Wales 1901-1993 with particular reference to the fauna. In “Future of the Fauna of Western New South Wales” (Eds D. Lunney, S. Hand, P. Reed and D. Butcher). Pp.1-26. Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, Mosman.
Lunney, D. 1994b. Royal Commission of 1901 on the western lands of New South Wales - an ecologist's summary. In “Future of the Fauna of Western New South Wales” (Eds D. Lunney, S. Hand, P. Reed and D. Butcher). Pp.221-40. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Sydney.
Lunney, D. 1995. Kangaroo harvesting in the context of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) and biodiversity conservation. In “Conservation through the sustainable use of wildlife” (Eds G. C. Grigg, P. T. Hale and D. Lunney). Pp. 166-175. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Lunney, D. and Grigg, G. C. (eds) 1988. “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium”. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24: 121-93.
Lunney, D., Hand, S., Reed, P. and Butcher, D. (eds) 1994. “Future of the Fauna of New South Wales”. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman.
Lunney, D. 2001. Causes of the extinction of native mammals of the Western Division of NSW: an ecological interpretation of the nineteenth century historical record. Rangeland Journal 23:44-70.
McLeod, S. 1996. The foraging behaviour of the arid zone herbivores the red kangaroo ( Macropus rufus) and the sheep ( Ovis aries) and its role in their competitive interaction, population dynamics and life-history strategies. Ph.D Thesis, University of New South Wales, Sydney.
Nagy, K. A. 1980. CO2 production in animals: analysis of potential errors in the doubly labelled water method. American Journal of Physiology 238: R466-73.
Nagy, K. A. 1987. Field metabolic rate and food requirement scaling in mammals and birds. Ecological Monographs 57(2): 111-28.
Noble, J. C. and Tongway D. J. 1986. Herbivores in arid and semi-arid rangelands. In “Australian Soils: The Human Impact” (Eds J. S. Russel and R. F. Isbell). Pp.243-70. University of Queensland Press, Brisbane.
Norbury, G. L. and Norbury, D. C. 1993. The distribution of red kangaroos in relation to range regeneration. The Rangeland Journal 15: 3-11.
O'Dea, K. 1988. Kangaroo meat - polyunsaturated and low in fat: ideal for cholesterol-lowering diets. Australian Zoologist 24: 140-3.
Pople, A. R. 1996. Effects of harvesting upon the demography of red kangaroos in western Queensland. Ph.D Thesis, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Pople, A. R. and Grigg, G. C. 1998. Commercial harvesting of kangaroos in Australia. http://www.environment.gov.au/bg/plants/wildlife/roo/roobg.htm. Document prepared for Environment Australia and published only on the WWW.
Rawlinson, P. 1988. Kangaroo conservation and kangaroo harvesting: intrinsic value versus instrumental value of wildlife. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Pp.129-37. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24(3): 121-93.
Short, J. 1985. The functional response of kangaroos, sheep and rabbits in an arid grazing system. Journal of Applied Ecology 22: 435-47.
Short, J. 1987. Factors affecting food intake of rangelands herbivores. In “Kangaroos: Their Ecology and Management in the Sheep Rangelands of Australia” (Eds G. Caughley, N. Shepherd and J. Short.). Pp.84-99. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Sinclair, A. J. 1988. Nutritional properties of kangaroo meat. In “Kangaroo harvesting and the conservation of arid lands; a symposium” (Eds D. Lunney and G. C. Grigg). Pp.121-93. Royal Zoological Society of NSW, Mosman. Australian Zoologist 24: 146-8.
Sinclair, R. 1996. Mulga regeneration at Koonamore. In ‘Focus On the Future - The Heat Is On!’. (Eds L. P. Hunt and R. Sinclair.) pp. 255-6. (Australian Rangeland Society: Adelaide.)
Switala, J. P. 1995. The potential supply and value of kangaroo meat. In “Conservation through the sustainable use of wildlife” (Eds G. C. Grigg, D. Lunney and P. T. Hale). Pp.237-42. Centre for Conservation Biology, University of Queensland, Brisbane.
Southwell, C. J., Cairns, S. C., Palmer, R., Delaney, R. and Broers, R. 1997. Abundance of large macropods in the eastern highlands of Australia. Wildlife Society Bulletin 25: 125-32.
Wilson, A. D. 1991. Forage utilization by sheep and kangaroos in a semi-arid woodland. The Rangeland Journal 13: 81-90.
Wilson, M. 1999. “The kangaroo betrayed”. Hill of Content Publishing, Melbourne.
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