Publication Details

Munn, A. J. & Payne, N. (2007). No appreciable change in kangaroo carcase weights during cold storage: Implications for compliance with minimum harvest carcase weight restrictions. Australian Zoologist, 34 (2), 184-189.


The commercial harvest of kangaroos in Australia is regulated by various state government agencies. They control the number of kangaroos that can be harvested annually with the view to ensuring that the harvest remains ecologically and economically sustainable. In addition to controlling the harvest quotas, some agencies impose minimum weight restrictions on harvested animals, which may assist with maintaining viable breeding populations. However, harvesting usually occurs in remote regions and carcases may be stored refrigerated for up to 10-14 d before being inspected for compliance with minimum weight restrictions. Consequently, there is concern that weight loss during cold storage, particularly in small carcases close to the minimum limit, could lead to harvesters being wrongly prosecuted or fined for breaching the minimum carcase weight licence condition. We found that for two species of kangaroo, the large eastern grey kangaroo (Macropus giganteus; liveweight 30-70 kg) and the smaller red-necked wallaby (M. rufogriseus; liveweight 10-24 kg), carcase weight loss after 10 days cold storage was negligible. There was no significant effect of species on carcase weight change after 10 days cold storage and their pooled weight change averaged just -75.0 ± 18.0 g, or 0.35 ± 0.08% of initial carcase weight. This level of weight loss was significantly different from a hypothesised weight change of zero (Z = -4.17, P < 0.001). However, after an additional four days of cold storage, average weight change in the smallest carcases (the red-necked wallabies) was not significantly different from zero (Z = -1.65, P > 0.05).