Environment Magazine

Sustainable Kangaroo Harvests

Posted on the 10 November 2011 by Bradshaw @conservbytes

Sustainable kangaroo harvests


When I first started this blog back in 2008, I extolled the conservation virtues of eating kangaroos over cattle and sheep. Now I want to put my academic money where my mouth is, and do some kangaroo harvest research.

Thanks to the South Australia Department of Environment and Natural Resources  (DENR) and the commercial kangaroo harvest industry, in conjunction with the University of Adelaide, I’m pleased to announce a new scholarship for a PhD candidate to work on a project entitled Optimal survey and harvest models for South Australian macropods based at the University of Adelaide’s School of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

DENR is custodian of a long-term macropod database derived from the State’s management of the commercial kangaroo harvest industry. The dataset entails aerial survey data for most of the State from 1978 to present, annual population estimates, quotas and harvests for three species: red kangaroo (Macropus rufus), western grey kangaroo (Macropus fuliginosus), and the euro (Macropus robustus erubescens). 

DENR wishes to improve the efficiency of surveys and increase the precision of population estimates, as well as provide a more quantitative basis for setting harvest quotas.

We envisage that the PhD candidate will design and construct population models

  1. to predict population size/densities with associated uncertainty, linking fluctuations to environmental variability (including future climate change projections)
  2. to evaluate the efficiency of spatially explicit aerial surveys
  3. to estimate demographic parameters (e.g., survival rate) from life tables and
  4. to estimate spatially explicit sustainable harvest quotas

Sound like something you’d be interested in pursuing? I can honestly say that it’s a pretty sexy dataset – generally such long time series are pretty rare, and there are so many ways we could take the modelling. It would definitely produce some cutting-edge research (and not just ‘applied’ outcomes).

If you think this sounds like your dream PhD, please send me a cover letter outlining why you believe you are suited to the task, as well as a detailed CV outlining your experience. The successful applicant should have a strong mathematical/statistical background (preferably with experience in programming), field experience (preferably with macropods) and a proven ability to write well.

The project co-supervisors include me, Associate Professor Phill Cassey, Dr Damien Fordham, Dr Brad Page (DENR) and Professor Michelle Waycott (DENR).

To be eligible, applicants must be Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia who are acceptable as candidates for a PhD degree at the University of Adelaide. The scholarship will be for the period 2012-2014 and has a stipend of AU$23,728.00 per annum. It is likely to be tax exempt, subject to Taxation Office approval.

Now, I think that we could also entertain non-Australian applicants who could successfully compete for an International Postgraduate Research Scholarship, so I encourage those who think they’ve got what it takes to apply via this route as well.

Application for Admission must be submitted using the Online Application Form, in addition to sending me your letter and CV, by18 December 2011 (or until we fill the position).

CJA Bradshaw


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