Recent articles have reported on both the environmental friendliness of kangaroo meat and the untapped prospects of 'roo tourism in the Land Down Under, with estimations that kangaroo viewing could become as popular as big game viewing in Africa.
Led by kangaroo expert Dr. David Croft, the Australian Wildlife Protection Council recently unveiled The Kangaroo Trail, which highlights the 50 best places in the country to see every 'roo species. Croft told the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) that he hopes the guide will be used by international visitors and locals alike. Kangaroo appreciation in native Australia is severely lacking, Croft believes.
"You can take the map in hand and you can see all of Australia, so it's showcasing our protected areas, our national parks, it's showcasing the diversity of our wildlife," he said in the ABC report. "Perhaps because I study their [kangaroos'] behavior, I saw them as individuals and personalities and I wanted people to share that."
But kangaroos have a long way to go before they attain Australian
adoration. Within days of the Kangaroo Trail being launched,
scientists' reports about the remarkably low methane levels produced by
kangaroos surfaced as well. While a single cow emits, on average, 1.84
metric tons of greenhouse gas equivalents per year and one sheep emits
around 300 pounds, a kangaroo emits a mere seven pounds. Switching,
therefore, from beef and lamb meat to kangaroo meat would cut
Australia's greenhouse gas emissions by 16 million tons, or 3 percent
of its yearly output, according to the National Geographic News report.
The estimated 30 million kangaroos roaming Australia's lands remain
largely ignored, chalked up as pesky vermin. And eating kangaroo meat
was only legalized throughout Australia in 1993. However, it seems
clear that with both tourism prospects and these recent scientific
reports, the kangaroo could soon be viewed in a new role. Which one
remains to be seen.