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Jump at this: Kangaroos pop the pill

Jump at this: Kangaroos pop the pill

Kangaroos around Australia's national capital will soon be fed a contraceptive pill by authorities.

Canberra: Kangaroos around Australia's national capital will soon be fed a contraceptive pill by authorities trying to control their booming population.

The move has been welcomed by Canberra animal rights advocates, who said feeding contraceptives to kangaroos was better than culling the animals.

"In our nation's capital, it certainly isn't appropriate to kill our national symbol," animal liberation spokeswoman Simone Gray said.

Australia has an estimated 57 million wild kangaroos, or nearly three times the human population, which damage crops and property and compete with livestock for food and water.

Despite being featured on the nation's coat of arms, Australia culls millions of kangaroos each year. But the number of sturdy marsupials keeps increasing.

The problem is prominent around Canberra, where five years of drought have seen more kangaroos move into the suburban fringes looking for feed and becoming traffic hazards for commuters.

Kangaroos are the biggest animal risk to motorists in Australia, accounting for 70 per cent of animal-related car accidents in 2004.

Grasslands and native forest around Canberra are home to the highest density of kangaroos in the country, with estimates of between 450 and 500 eastern gray kangaroos per square kilometre.

In Canberra, a city of about 3,00,000 people, kangaroos were responsible for 600 car accidents in 2004.

first published:August 23, 2006, 17:08 IST