Australia's kangaroos facing 'largest wildlife massacre in the world' - filmmaker

A new documentary has shed light on Australia's love-hate relationship with kangaroos.

Despite being an icon of airlines, sports teams, and even the country's coat of arms, the crew behind Kangaroo found that there is in fact a lot of hate and brutality levelled against the marsupial.

Kiwi filmmaker Kate McIntyre Clere says she always knew there was controversy surrounding the animal.

"There's always casual talk, but we had no idea. Whistle-blowers came forward to tell us about the cruelty and the issues and the hygiene. We've let the kangaroo down.

"It's the largest wildlife massacre in the world, the killing of kangaroos."

Ms McIntyre Clere told The AM Show tales of shooters going out in the dark across Australia and shooting kangaroos when they're out at night

"They often miss and there are terrible injuries. They get the jaw and the shoulder, then [the kangaroos] hop across Australia dying a slow death.

"Their joeys are pulled out of the mother's pouch and the ways they get rid of those are really heinous."

Ms McIntyre says it's time people really knew what was going on.

"For some they're a pest, for some they're sacred. In indigenous communities they're still a totemic animal. It's a very controversial issue, the way we treat kangaroos."

She says that while kangaroos are, in theory, protected under the category of wildlife, there are plenty of ways to get around that.

"If you want to put a road in, a school in, or a winery in, you can shoot kangaroos almost willy-nilly."

Kangaroo: A Love-Hate Story is playing at 6:30pm on Tuesday at Academy Cinemas in Auckland.

Newshub.