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Little is known about the effect of environmental variables on the nutrition of large numbers of wild kangaroos. Faecal Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (FNIRS) can predict dietary and non-dietary data on free-ranging deer and cattle and assist with management. Why not other over-abundant species, like kangaroos? I applied FNIRS to kangaroos in drought affected south-east New South Wales to explore dietary and non-dietary information. The data suggests that:

a) Eastern Grey Kangaroos mostly eat high quality ‘green’ feed

b) Eastern Grey Kangaroos start to lose body condition when sufficient ‘green’ feed is unavailable

c) rainfall and subsequent plant growth have a positive effect on body condition,

d) the age and sex of individuals, and abundance of forestomach worms affect body condition

e) pouch young have no effect on body condition, and

f) FNIRS is an effective tool for monitoring over-abundant wild populations, allowing for the early implementation of management options.

Kamler, J., Homolka, M., and Cizmar, D. 2004. Suitability of NIRS analysis for estimating diet quality of free-living red deer Cervus elaphus and roe deer Capreolus capreolus. Wildlife Biology, 10, 235-240.
Landau, S., Glasser, T., Dvash, L., and Perevolotsky, A. 2005. Faecal NIRS to monitor the diet of Mediterranean goats. South African Journal of Animal Science, 34, 76-80.
Stuth, J.W. and Tolleson, D.R. 2000. Monitoring the nutritional status of grazing animals using near-infrared spectroscopy. Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian, 22, S108-S115.
Tolera, A. and Sundstol, F. 2001. Prediction of feed intake, digestibility and growth rate of sheep fed basal diets of maize stover supplemented with Desmodium intortum hay from dry matter degradability of the diets. Livestock Production Science, 68, 13-23.
Tolleson, D., Osborn, B., Neuendorff, D., Greyling, M., Randel, R., Stuth, J., and Ginnett, T. 2001a. Determination of gender in four wildlife species by Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy of feces. In Texas Chapter, Wildlife Society Meetings.
Tolleson, D.R., Teel, P.D., Stuth, J.W., and Strey, O.F. 2000. Discrimination of parasite burden in livestock via near infrared reflectance spectroscopy of feces. Journal of Animal Science, 78, 14.
Tolleson, D.R., Willard, S.T., Gandy, B.S., and Stuth, J.W. 2001b. Determination of reproductive status in dairy cattle using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy of feces. Journal of Animal Science, 79, 21.
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References

Kamler, J., Homolka, M., and Cizmar, D. 2004. Suitability of NIRS analysis for estimating diet quality of free-living red deer Cervus elaphus and roe deer Capreolus capreolus. Wildlife Biology, 10, 235-240.
Landau, S., Glasser, T., Dvash, L., and Perevolotsky, A. 2005. Faecal NIRS to monitor the diet of Mediterranean goats. South African Journal of Animal Science, 34, 76-80.
Stuth, J.W. and Tolleson, D.R. 2000. Monitoring the nutritional status of grazing animals using near-infrared spectroscopy. Compendium on Continuing Education for the Practicing Veterinarian, 22, S108-S115.
Tolera, A. and Sundstol, F. 2001. Prediction of feed intake, digestibility and growth rate of sheep fed basal diets of maize stover supplemented with Desmodium intortum hay from dry matter degradability of the diets. Livestock Production Science, 68, 13-23.
Tolleson, D., Osborn, B., Neuendorff, D., Greyling, M., Randel, R., Stuth, J., and Ginnett, T. 2001a. Determination of gender in four wildlife species by Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy of feces. In Texas Chapter, Wildlife Society Meetings.
Tolleson, D.R., Teel, P.D., Stuth, J.W., and Strey, O.F. 2000. Discrimination of parasite burden in livestock via near infrared reflectance spectroscopy of feces. Journal of Animal Science, 78, 14.
Tolleson, D.R., Willard, S.T., Gandy, B.S., and Stuth, J.W. 2001b. Determination of reproductive status in dairy cattle using near infrared reflectance spectroscopy of feces. Journal of Animal Science, 79, 21.
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