Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Saturday, 9 August 2008 15:03 UK

Eat kangaroo to 'save the planet'

Baby kangaroo and mother
Kangaroos could be good for the environment

Switching from beef to kangaroo burgers could significantly help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, says an Australian scientist.

The methane gas produced by sheep and cows through belching and flatulence is more potent than carbon dioxide in the damage it can cause to the environment.

But kangaroos produce virtually no methane because their digestive systems are different.

Dr George Wilson, of the Australian Wildlife Services, urges farming them.

He says they have a different set of micro-organisms in their guts to cows and sheep.

Sheep and cattle account for 11% of Australia's carbon footprint and over the years, there have been various proposals to deal with the problem.

Now Dr Wilson believes kangaroos might hold the answer.

He said: "It tastes excellent, not unlike venison - only a different flavour."

The country already produces 30 million kangaroos farmed by landholders in the outback.

But Dr Wilson is keen to see that population dramatically increased to produce the same amount of kangaroo meat as that currently produced by conventional livestock.

Methane is about 25 times more potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide molecule for molecule.

But the much greater volume of CO2 generated by human activities such as industry and transport means that it is the largest contributor to modern-day global warming.

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