WARNING — CONFRONTING IMAGES: Disturbing video shot by a woman exercising her dog at a remote Australian timber plantation has sparked an investigation.
The walker, who requested her name be withheld, supplied a cache of footage and images to Yahoo News Australia showing dead and dying wildlife strewn across a track in a recently logged Tasmanian forest.
Many of the dead marsupial pademelons are lying close to a substance appearing to resemble cornmeal. A wallaby was filmed still breathing but barely hanging onto life.
Wallaby deaths under investigation
The videos were taken on a Cradoc Hill acreage owned by Reliance Forest Fibre, which has private property signs erected along the fence line.
How the wallabies came to be dead on the site remains unclear. When we called the company on Thursday, an employee advised people frequently walk through their site without permission.
They were unable to immediately answer questions about the discovery of the dead marsupials, other than to say they do not poison wildlife. Reliance Forest Fibre did not respond to a series of emailed questions by deadline.
In Tasmania, the poisoning of native wildlife like possums and wallabies is not always an offence. The practice can be sanctioned by the state government via a permit when a company argues doing so is an essential element of their wildlife management program.
The circumstances of the deaths remain under investigation by Tasmania’s Department of Natural Resources (NRE Tas) which received reports about the wallabies on November 28 and 30.
“This matter is under investigation, and as such no further information can be provided at this stage,” it said in a statement.
Do you know more? Contact: Michael.Dahlstrom@yahooinc.com
Disturbing details of wallaby video
The video of the dying wallaby is difficult to watch, and we've removed the sound to obscure the dog walker's identity.
It shows the woman kneeling close to the wallaby and trying to calm him. “My darling, I’m so sorry,” she says as she strokes his face.
While the wallaby is unable to move its body, it slowly moves its head back and forth. With the debris smoothed away beneath its face, it appears to have been lying there dying for some time.
“There was no blood when I touch the wallaby on its neck, but there was stuff coming out of the pademelon's mouths,” the woman told Yahoo on Thursday. “It was actually really horrible.”
The woman stayed with the animal for 30 minutes and later placed a cotton bag over his face to try and keep flies from buzzing around his eyes.
Concerned about the animal's welfare, she called a local ranger, and sources indicate it was humanely euthanised within two hours.
When the woman returned to the site the following day, the bodies had been removed. Eagles were soaring above another large wallaby that was hopping through the landscape.
Anyone with information about incidents involving wildlife can contact Investigations and Enforcement Services on 0417 661 234 or Crime Stoppers Tasmania on 1800 333 000.
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