Outrage after X-ray reveals grim truth behind beloved Aussie creature's death

A disturbing case of animal cruelty has locals reeling.

Residents of a northern New South Wales town are furious after discovering the circumstances behind the death of a beloved creature found at a camp ground.

An X-ray image by Currumbin Wildlife Centre, which was shared to a community Facebook group by Mullumbimby resident Kathleen Angus, revealed a chilling picture of what had caused the goanna's suffering and consequential passing.

Ms Angus explained that the poor creature was discovered to have 11 bullets from a BB gun throughout its body and had apparently been suffering from its wounds for about a month.

Welcome to Mullumbimby sign, goanna X-ray
An X-ray image by Currumbin Wildlife Centre shows the goanna had 11 bullets lodged in its body. Source: Currumbin Wildlife Centre

The lizard was starving and dehydrated when it was found and taken to the wildlife centre, and was in such a horrific state, there was no other choice but to put it down.

Members of the Facebook group expressed shock, horror and sadness after reading the post, with many sharing their disbelief that there could be people who could treat an animal with such cruelty. "That's so awful. Glad the poor thing is no longer suffering. What's wrong with some people?" a local commented.

"So sad to read this. How are we supposed to protect the small amount of wildlife left with this sort of person finding it entertainment?" another upset resident chimed.

'Too far gone'

Ms Angus, a disability support worker, was the first person to find the injured goanna some two weeks ago. "The first time I saw it I thought it didn't look good, but I've been tricked by them before – when they are digesting they can appear somewhat comatose," she told Yahoo News Australia. "The second time, the day it was collected, though, I thought it was dead as it seemed totally unresponsive."

"So I laid a flower against it and said a prayer for it. A few hours later I noticed the flower was on the ground and it had moved about a foot so I called WIRES," Ms Angus shared.

Ms Angus explained that someone from Northern Rivers Wildlife Carers eventually got in touch to collect the goanna. "The person agreed that it looked emaciated. She took it home and gave it fluids and a hot water bottle. The following day she took it up to Currumbin Wildlife Centre where she works part time," she continued.

Goanna X-ray
Mullumbimby locals were appalled by the cruelty shown to the goanna. Source: Currumbin Wildlife Centre

Horrible suffering

"They did an X-ray, established that it was too far gone to be saved and no doubt in an awful lot of pain, and they euthanised it, sending me the photo that morning. It was potentially suffering from lead poisoning the whole time too," Ms Angus said. "It had probably not eaten or drunk anything for about a month."

Although there is no way of knowing whether the perpetrator is an adult or a youth, Ms Angus revealed that she heard that someone found a magpie that had also been shot in the area around the same time. "Clearly there is someone up this way with a pretty incredible lack of empathy," she added.

This is the second known incident involving cruelty to a goanna this year. In April, a group of senior students from a prestigious private school in Sydney sparked outrage after they were accused of torturing and killing a goanna at an annual cadet camp. The case is currently under investigation.

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