We would point out this unique Australian road sign to our overseas visitors, who often requested us to stop the car, in order to take a souvenir photo. This photo was taken yesterday when we visited our former neighbours who are now residing at a retirement village in Morisset.
These road signs are only found in the rural areas to protect this iconicAustralian native animal from being killed by passing vehicles, especially at night. Many of the species are nocturnal and usually spending the days resting in the shade and moving about in the nights or early mornings to feed. It is quite disheartening to see them lying with other native animals along the road after being hit by a vehicle as roadkill.
Of course, the Australians love their kangaroos, in which they have played an important part to both Australian culture and the national image. And consequently featured in the Australian coat of arms as well as being used as logos and sport. It was one of the mascots at the 2000 Sydney Olympic and also incorporated into the logo on the national carrier Qantas.
They are not farmed to any extent, but wild kangaroos are shot for meat and have become popular worldwide especially after the mad cow disease scare in Europe and the Asian bird flu in recent years. Personally I like to eat them, as I reckon it is a very nutritious and healthy red meat. They are readily available at the main supermarkets under the health food section. Although there are some controversies, harvesting kangaroos for meat has many environmental and health benefits over sheep or cows grazed for meat. Ironically, they are also culled to protect grazing land for sheep and cattle.
I am sure cattle and sheep farmers do not find it funny to learn that kangaroos have good table manners. I have just learned from goggling at Wikipedia, that the kangaroos do not belch out stomach gas, despite having an herbivorous diet similar to ruminants such as cattle and sheep which release large quantities of methane through exhaling and eructation. The kangaroo instead converts the hydrogen by-product into acetate, which is then used to provide further energy. It further stated that scientists are interested in the possibility of transferring the bacteria responsible from kangaroos to cattle, since the greenhouse gas effect of methane is 23 times greater than that of carbon dioxide. If that is the case, does it justify to eat this iconic Australian native animal?