WARNING - DISTURBING IMAGES: A distressing photo has emerged showing a live cockatoo with an arrow piercing its head, sparking a desperate search for the injured bird.
Rescuers were unable to catch the bird after it was spotted today at a property in Wandin North, 40km east of Melbourne.
The “horrifying” discovery has left the woman who found the cockatoo, veteran wildlife carer Shareen Bradbrook, feeling uneasy.
“This is my home, I’ve got a little two-year-old and I’ve got nine horses out in the paddock, so if someone’s (shooting) in the area I feel unsafe,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“I’ve never felt like that here.”
Second cockatoo found with arrow injury
Ms Bradbrook, a volunteer with Wildlife Victoria, said the cockatoo had been shot downwards, through the top of its head using a “blunt arrow” meant for archery practice.
She believes the projectile had clearly inflicted a “disgusting” amount of pain and suffering on the bird, a protected species.
Another cockatoo, which was found nearby with an arrow piercing its chest, was euthanised by a vet due to its “horrific” injuries.
Upon returning home, Ms Bradbrook said her paddocks were now eerily quiet.
“In the spot where I am I have roughly 50 odd cockies come every day, and ever since yesterday I do not have one.
“It is dead quiet," she said.
“I’d hate to think what’s happened, whether they’re spooked or whether they’re injured I’m not sure.”
Urgent call to ban bow hunting in Victoria
Following the devastating find, the Animal Justice Party’s Andy Meddick has called on the government to ban bow hunting across the state.
He said that unlike firearms, which need to be registered to an individual, bows are harder to track, making it “almost impossible” to find those responsible for the attack.
“Whether an animal is a native or non-native, an arrow through the body is a cruel, slow and painful way to die,” Mr Meddick said.
“Today I read in a motion in parliament condemning this cruel act and called for the Victorian Government to implement a total ban on bow hunting.
“As long as this government allows cruelty to other native animals, such as duck and kangaroo shooting, there will always be disrespect for our native wildlife.”
Crime Stoppers issues appeal for public help
The incident is the third bow and arrow attack on wildlife in the last seven months, with a brushtail possum and another cockatoo also targeted by hunters.
Crime Stoppers has issued an appeal for anyone with information regarding the shooting of the cockatoos to come forward.
With all native birds and animals protected under the Wildlife Act, it is illegal to harm indigenous species without a permit.
Fines of more than $41,000 and up to two years imprisonment apply.
Anyone who sees the cockatoo is asked to contact Wildlife Victoria on (03) 8400 7300 or the DELWP on 136 186.
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