Licences to harm kangaroos

How to manage the impacts of kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies.

Kangaroos, wallaroos and wallabies (collectively referred to here as kangaroos) are protected in New South Wales by the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act).

Under this Act, it is illegal to 'harm' (defined as kill, injure or capture) a kangaroo or 'attempt to harm' (including hunt, pursue or use anything for the purpose of harming) a kangaroo without a licence.

If kangaroos are damaging your property, posing risks to safety, or causing economic hardship, your options include:

  1. Learn what you can do to help avoid conflict with kangaroos
    Read the Living with kangaroos brochure to learn more about kangaroos and how to avoid conflict with them.
  2. Non-lethal control measures
    Ask your local National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) office for advice. Depending on your situation, impacts can sometimes be managed without harming the animals, using more effective and longer-term solutions than culling.
  3. Allow kangaroos to be commercially harvested from your property
    f non-lethal controls aren't enough to manage the impacts and your property is located in one of the commercial kangaroo management zones, contact your local commercial kangaroo harvesters to see if they would be interested in harvesting kangaroos from your property. To obtain contact details of nearby harvesters, register your interest on the Local Land Services website. If a harvester agrees to use your property, this is arranged by submitting your consent form (PDF 69KB) to the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment via the Wildlife Management System. It's best if culling is done by licensed harvesters, as it reduces the administrative burden on landholders, ensures kangaroos are shot humanely by trained professionals and supports local industry.
  4. Apply for a licence to harm (cull) kangaroos
    If non-lethal controls aren't enough to manage the impacts and commercial harvesting can't be arranged on your property, you can apply to your local NPWS office for a landholder's licence to harm kangaroos. There are 2 ways to apply for a licence:
    1. complete an application form for a licence to harm kangaroos (DOC 194KB) and submit with any required documentation to your local NPWS office by email, post or in person
    2. if you have been granted a licence to harm native animals in the past few years, you may provide the information required in the application form by phone to your local NPWS office.

Do I need a licence to harm (including shoot) kangaroos?

Harming (killing, injuring or capturing) kangaroos in New South Wales without a licence is illegal.

If you need to cull kangaroos to manage their impact on your property, and you can't engage a licensed commercial kangaroo harvester to remove kangaroos from your property (see option 3 above), then you will need a licence to harm kangaroos.

Licences are not granted for recreational shooting.

Do I need a licence to harm other native animals?

If you need to harm native animals, besides kangaroos, to manage their impacts, you'll need a different type of licence. Types of licences to harm include:

If you need to control both kangaroos and other native animals on your property, you'll need to apply separately for each relevant licence type.

How many kangaroos can I harm on my property?

On your licence application, you'll be asked how many kangaroos you think you need to cull to manage the impacts of kangaroos on your property.

Your application will be assessed by NPWS staff, who may authorise you to cull up to the maximum limits shown below based on the species requested and the location and size of your property.

How do I know what species I have on my property?

Our website contains information and pictures of kangaroo and wallaby species.

If you're unsure about the species that are causing damage on your property, seek advice from your local NPWS area office.

How do I know what kangaroo management zone my property is in?

Our website contains maps of each kangaroo management zone.

If you're unsure of your kangaroo management zone, you can contact your local NPWS office.

What is a 'bushfire-affected property'?

Research suggests intense bushfires may result in significant reductions in kangaroo populations in some areas, due to deaths and movement of kangaroos. If NPWS staff determine that your property is in one of these areas, they will consider this when determining cull limits for your licence.

How has non-commercial kangaroo licensing changed over the last few years?

On 8 August 2018, the NSW Government approved new licence conditions to assist landholders manage the impact of kangaroos during the drought while maintaining animal welfare standards and ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations.

The changes included:

  • carcass tags are no longer required
  • ecologically sustainable limits on the number of kangaroos that may be culled, based on property size
  • previous and current licence holders can apply for licences over the phone
  • shooter details are registered by the landholder and provided to the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) after culling operations, rather than with the licence application
  • carcasses may be used by landholders or registered shooters for non-commercial purposes
  • Local Land Services now assist landholders by facilitating connections with licensed harvesters and experienced volunteer recreational shooters.

View the licence conditions for licences to harm kangaroos (PDF 32KB).

How will the kangaroo population be sustainably managed?

The NSW Kangaroo Management Plan for the commercial harvest program establishes quotas to ensure kangaroo populations in the harvest zones remain ecologically sustainable.

Quotas are usually set at 17% of the population for red kangaroos and 15% for eastern and western grey kangaroos and wallaroos.

The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment closely monitors the total number of kangaroos authorised to be culled under licences to harm, and the number harvested under the commercial harvest program. If the combined cull and harvest numbers approach the ecologically sustainable limits, the Department will adjust the maximum limits on the number of kangaroos that can be harmed under non-commercial licences to harm kangaroos.

Why have the licence limits changed?

Licence limits are revised each year based on the updated kangaroo population estimates and commercial harvest quotas published in the Kangaroo Management Plan Quota Reports. They are also subject to change throughout the year if demand for licences is forecast to exceed the ecologically sustainable limits for particular species or zones. Any changes to maximum limits will be published on this website.

How will animal welfare be managed?

All non-commercial shooting of kangaroos and wallabies must comply with the National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes to ensure kangaroos are killed in a way that minimises pain and suffering. Landholders must ensure all shooters operating under their licence are provided with a copy of this code.

As well, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 applies to harming kangaroos in New South Wales.

Compliance with this Act is monitored and enforced by the NSW Police Force, the NSW RSPCA and the Animal Welfare League NSW.

In addition, the NSW Department of Primary Industries Game Licensing Unit has developed the Volunteer Non-Commercial Kangaroo Shooters Best Practice Guide (PDF 525KB), which covers critical aspects of safe and humane kangaroo culling including legislative requirements, kangaroo species identification, firearm calibres and projectiles, marksmanship and shot placement, disease identification and handling game meat.

What methods can I use to harm kangaroos?

The National Code of Practice for the Humane Shooting of Kangaroos and Wallabies for Non-Commercial Purposes specifies acceptable methods of shooting kangaroos, including:

  • the type of firearms and ammunition that must be used
  • how shooting must be conducted (shooting from moving vehicles or helicopters is not permitted)
  • where to aim to ensure a sudden and humane death
  • procedures to minimise pain and suffering of shot animals and euthanase dependent young.

Any proposal to use a method other than shooting in accordance with the code should be discussed with your local NPWS office before submitting a licence application.

Who can help with shooting kangaroos on my property?

Persons with a valid firearms licence and appropriate firearms can assist with shooting kangaroos on your property under a licence to harm kangaroos.

Shooters are no longer required to be listed on the licence application form and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment no longer issues separate licences to shooters. Instead, licence holders must maintain a register of the names and firearms licence numbers of shooters and provide this detail to NPWS in their licence return.

Local Land Services (LLS) has established a register of licensed commercial harvesters, and professional and experienced volunteer recreational shooters who are willing to assist landholders to manage kangaroos. Landholders who wish to obtain contact details of a shooter in their region can visit the Local Land Services website for more information to register online.

Is there a limit on the number of shooters?

No. There is no limit on the number of shooters that can operate on your property at any one time, however, culling operations should be undertaken in a manner to ensure the safety of all persons on your and nearby properties, including any adjoining public land.

How can I ensure shooting is legal and safe?

All people authorised to shoot kangaroos under a licence to harm kangaroos are required to comply with firearms laws and firearms licence conditions.

All shooters must hold a current firearms licence appropriate for the firearm being used. This licence must include at least one genuine reason that is consistent with their kangaroo-shooting activity.

The GunSmart campaign offers useful tips and tools to help shooters to keep themselves and others safe.

For more information about firearms laws and licences, contact the NSW Firearms Registry.

How will risks to neighbouring properties be managed?

Kangaroo culling on or near small properties may pose a risk to the safety and amenity of people and livestock on neighbouring properties.

The following arrangements apply to ensure this risk is managed:

  • the number of kangaroos that can be culled on properties of 20 hectares or less will be determined on a case-by-case basis, but will not exceed the limits set for properties between 20 and 40 hectares
  • licences issued to properties of 20 hectares or less will include a condition requiring notification to local police and neighbours before commencing culling
  • this condition may also be included on licences for larger properties that are adjacent to smaller properties or rural communities.

Do I need to tag kangaroos harmed on my property?

No. Tags are no longer required to be attached to carcasses of animals culled under a non-commercial licence to harm kangaroos.

Commercial tags are still required for kangaroos harvested by licensed kangaroo harvesters.

Can I use the carcasses under a licence to harm kangaroos?

Non-commercially, yes. The 'shoot and let lie' licence condition no longer applies.

Carcasses must not be sold, swapped or traded. They may be used by landholders and shooters for any secondary purpose, including for pest animal baiting programs.

What records do I need to keep?

If you have been a granted a licence to harm kangaroos, you need to keep records of:

  • the name and firearms licence details of all shooters operating under your licence
  • who harmed kangaroos under your licence, how many they harmed and what species they were.

Records must be provided to your local NPWS office with 7 days of the expiry of your licence. Further licence applications may not be considered if record sheets are not provided.

There are 2 ways to provide your records:

  1. complete the record sheet you received when you were granted your licence and submit it to your local NPWS office by email, post or in person
  2. call your local NPWS office and provide the records over the phone.

Maximum kangaroo cull limits per licence

Kangaroo management zones with NPWS branches and areasTo help landholders manage the impacts of kangaroos, while maintaining ecologically sustainable kangaroo populations, maximum cull limits are set according to property size for the 4 species subject to commercial harvesting (eastern grey, western grey, red and wallaroo) in each kangaroo management zone. These are revised each year using the latest kangaroo population survey data and don't apply to the commercial kangaroo harvest program.

When assessing licence applications, NPWS aims to authorise harm to the smallest number of animals possible to mitigate the impacts of kangaroos. The number authorised won't exceed the set maximum limits per licence.

Monthly reviews of licences issued to landholders and commercial harvesters are undertaken to ensure kangaroo populations are ecologically sustainable for all species and zones. If, after review, changes to the maximum limits for non-commercial licences are announced, they will only apply to new licences granted after the date of the announcement. To facilitate this regular monitoring, licences are typically granted for a maximum 3 months.

2021 maximum limits

The maximum limits per non-commercial licence for 2021 are based on updated kangaroo population estimates and commercial harvest quotas for 2021, which are published in the 2021 Quota Report.

The 2021 Quota Report indicates NSW kangaroo populations are relatively stable, with significant decreases of some species in some zones offset by increases in other zones.

In some circumstances, instead of setting maximum limits, licence applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. In these cases, licences will only be granted where the landholder provides evidence of kangaroo-related damage and will be subject to significantly lower culling limits. These include:

  • species and zones with significant decreases in kangaroo population
  • species not included in the commercial Kangaroo Management Program
  • smaller properties (up to 20 hectares)
  • bushfire-affected properties.

Each non-commercial licence to harm kangaroos granted on or after 4 February 2021 will not authorise harm to more kangaroos than the limits tabled below. Licences may authorise harm to fewer animals where appropriate.

Zone Property size
21-40 ha
Property size
41-100 ha
Property size
101-500 ha
Property size
501-5000 ha
Property size
5001+ ha
Cobar, Bourke, Tibooburra To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 500

Western grey kangaroos

Zone Property size
21-40 ha
Property size
41-100 ha
Property size
101-500 ha
Property size
501-5000 ha
Property size
5001+ ha
Cobar, Bourke, Narrabri, Tibooburra To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Red kangaroos

Zone Property size
21-40 ha
Property size
41-100 ha
Property size
101-500 ha
Property size
501-5000 ha
Property size
5001+ ha
Bourke, Tibooburra To be assessed on a case-by-case basis
All other zones 25 50 125 250 250

Wallaroos

Zone Property size
21-40 ha
Property size
41-100 ha
Property size
101-500 ha
Property size
501-5000 ha
Property size
5001+ ha
Armidale, Glen Innes, Upper Hunter 10 10 20 30 50
All other zones 25 50 75 100 200

Please note:

  • for properties 1-20 hectares in size, non-commercial licence culling limits will be determined on a case-by-case basis
  • for all other kangaroo and wallaby species, non-commercial licence culling limits will be determined on a case-by-case basis
  • bushfire-affected properties will be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

Public register

The Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 requires all licences are listed on a public register. The register does not contain personal information of licensees.

Go to the public register of licences to harm to view information about the licences granted by NPWS that authorise harm to protected animals, including kangaroos.