Stories tagged kangaroos

Aug
13
2008

How convenient!: Jumpmeat, with a little pouch to hold more jumpmeat!
How convenient!: Jumpmeat, with a little pouch to hold more jumpmeat!Courtesy .robbie
Y’all got kangaroo knives, right?

What? You don’t have kangaroo knives? Well… I mean… what… How do you cut your kangaroos up, then?! This is madness! Cats and dogs, living together! Ewok Adventure! Sour candy! Madness!

I think there must be some kind of misunderstanding. A kangaroo knife isn’t necessarily like a big Crocodile Dundee knife* (although, that is a really nice kangaroo knife). No, pretty much any sharpish object can be a kangaroo knife. So, yes, a knife can be a kangaroo knife, but what else? A chipped rock? Yes, what else? Sure, a jagged piece of scrap metal would make a nice one. Anything else? A sharpened spoon? Very good, yes, a sharpened spoon could work. A fingernail? Well, I suppose it depends on the finger and the nail, but maybe.

I think you’re getting the idea. But why do we need all of these kangaroo knives in the first place? To be honest, it’s probably only the Australian Buzzketeers out there (maybe?) that would have any use for them, but it doesn’t hurt for the rest of us to be prepared. See, a recent article in the journal Conservation Letters recommends that expanding the kangaroo industry in Australia, and shrinking the cattle and sheep industries, would significantly cut the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, growing the kangaroo population to 175 million by 2020 (and reducing the cattle and sheep populations proportionately) would eliminate 16 megatons of greenhouse gas, or 3 percent of Australia’s total emissions.

It’s not just any old greenhouse gas that would be cut, either—we’re talking about methane, one of the stinkiest, hottest, greenhousiest greenhouse gases of them all. Ruminants—animals that chew cud and have multi-chambered stomachs, like cows and sheep—produce a lot of methane, up to 60 percent of global methane emissions†. A dairy cow can produce about 50 gallons of methane gas a day! Kangaroos, on the other hand, produce only about one third of the methane of a ruminant animal does. And, as a little environmental bonus, kangaroos’ large, padded paws are much easier on the land than the hooves of ruminants, and contribute less to erosion.

But what are we supposed to do with all these millions of kangaroos? Eat them, naturally. (This is where the kangaroo knives come in!) Kangaroo meat is reportedly high in protein, low in fat, and it has high concentrations of conjugated linoleic acid (a chemical that seems to have anti-cancer properties, and tends to reduce body fat in humans). But, you know, it’s kangaroo meat, which some people may have a problem with**.

It’s difficult to say, too, what the other environmental ramifications of increasing one animal’s population dozens of times over might be. Maybe the kangaroos could be trained to eat rabbits, or something.

Assuming y’all had some kangaroo knives, do you think you could deal with eating kangaroo? You know, for nature?

*Doesn’t Paul Hogan look like he’s about to do something just awful to Manhattan there?

†The EPA’s website says that ruminants only account for 28% of global methane emissions. But that’ still a lot.

**The kangaroo meat industry actually held a competition to come up with a new name for the meat that didn’t conjure up images of doe-eyes and fuzzy little faces. The finalists included kangarly, maroo, krou, maleen, kuja, roujoe, rooviande, jurru, ozru, marsu, kangasaurus, marsupan, jumpmeat, and MOM (meat of marsupials), but the winning name ended up being “australus.” Australus was for sure not the best name. The best name was “jumpmeat.”

New fossil evidence indicates that the ancestors of modern kangaroos walked on four legs, had fangs and climbed trees -- a sobering thought. Meanwhile, scientists studying marsupial flatulence have discovered that kangaroo gas contains no methane, and thus does not contribute to greenhouse gasses. A spokesman for kangaroos said he was glad no kangaroos were involved in changing the Earth's climate.