A group of animal rights campaigners staged a small protest at Marketown in Newcastle on Saturday, calling for an end to the "ongoing slaughter" of the state's kangaroo population until a study can be made to determine the health and sustainability of the native species.
The protest coincided with the first 'World Kangaroo Day', supported by a conglomerate of animal rights campaigning groups and organisations including the Australian Wildlife Protection Council, Animal Justice Party, Animal Welfare Institute and Kangaroos Alive among others.
Darren Brollo, the Newcastle regional group leader for the Animal Justice Party, said protesters gathered to demand a moratorium on killing kangaroos, describing it as a "source of global shame".
"It's time to take action," Mr Brollo said. "The people of Newcastle are joining with an international community of kangaroo advocates and calling on the NSW Government to place an immediate moratorium on kangaroo slaughter here in our state."
A survey conducted by the Animal Justice Party of over 1000 NSW residents found three in four believed the state government should conduct a population count and a scientific assessment of the impact of the fires on the state's kangaroos.
"There are now grave concerns that the long-term survival of kangaroo populations is at risk," Mr Brollo said, claiming that shooters have been "unable to reach their 'kill quota' for years".
Current quotas allow just over two million kangaroos, representing 15.2 per cent of the population, to be hunted and killed in 2020.
According to the NSW government's 2019 estimates, more than 14 million kangaroos and wallaroos roam the state.
Former Australian cricketer, Jason Gillespie has also joined the campaign on the national level, calling for legal protections for kangaroos.
"This is an animal we consider a national icon. It needs protection by law," he said.
"The world watched in horror this past summer as our beautiful country burned. The devastation was on a scale never seen by this generation. How can we continue to allow the commercial hunting of the kangaroo, with the true impact of this catastrophe still unknown?"
Kangaroos have long been touted as a pest for farmers, who say they decimate crops, compete with livestock for pasture, knock down fences and cause havoc on the road.
But the NSW Upper House MLC Mark Pearson, also of the Animal Justice Party, said the belief that kangaroos existed in plague proportions and therefore should be 'culled' was baseless.
"I invite those who hold onto that claim as an excuse to kill: show me," he said in a statement. "Take me to the places where kangaroos apparently exist in plague proportions, because I've not seen it - not before these bushfires, let alone since."
- with AAP