An Australian politician is back in the spotlight over wildlife issues just days after he made national headlines for joking about killing a cockatoo with his car.
Liberal National Party Senator James McGrath’s roadkill post to Facebook on Friday titled “Car 1. Flock of cockatoos 0” drew community ire last Saturday, attracting over 4300 comments - most of them critical.
The Queensland senator attempted to temper the remarks with a clarification, writing under the original post that he was misunderstood.
“As the context of the post has been missed: I was driving at 100km an hour outside of Warwick when a flock of cockatoos flew into the car,” he wrote.
“It was lucky that I didn’t crash.”
He went on to say that accusations that his post was boastful “were wrong”.
However, eagle eyed observers were quick to point out this isn’t the first time the conservative politician has joked about killing wildlife with his vehicle.
A post on his Facebook page from July 9, 2018 appears to suggest a number of kangaroos were hit by a vehicle.
“Roo v car = draw. The landcruiser (sic) won the other 5 roo hits last night,” a statement above the photo, which shows a dented car, reads.
Scrolling back to September 25, 2017 is another roadkill picture - this time of two little birds which appear to be dead in the grill of a car.
“I think dinner tonight has been sorted thanks to my bullbar. Suggestions for how to cook the roadkill?” it says.
Comments to the original post, have been scathing, with many beginning to link back to the Senator’s previous roadkill posts.
“I’m seeing a trend,” said one person.
“You look like a cat who’s killed a bird and brought it to their owner as a gift, except no one here is proud of you,” someone else said.
“Shame on you for posting this. Our wildlife is under threat from so many directions,” another post read.
Others have pointed to a video appearing to highlight Senator McGrath’s dislike of cockatoos.
After blaming them for destroying two trees and disturbing his Sunday morning sleep, he went on to call them “menaces”.
“Anyone who thinks cockatoos are cute needs their head read by a suitably qualified medical professional,” he wrote.
A growing numbers of comments have questioned whether the senator’s jokes are fitting of a community leader.
Humane Society speaks out against senator’s posts
Evan Quartermain from Humane Society International has spoken out against the senator’s posts.
“Humane Society International joins the overwhelming majority of Australians in utterly condemning callous attitudes towards our wildlife,” he said.
"It's so important for the safety of both people and animals to drive carefully and with awareness of potentially erratic wildlife behaviours in mind.
“Heavier birds of prey and cockatoos take time to get in the air and out of the way, and kangaroos can change direction rapidly - so if you see them on the side of the road, slow down for your sake as well as theirs."
Senator James McGrath has been contacted by Yahoo News Australia for comment.
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