WARNING - DISTURBING IMAGES: Trophies are being taken from kangaroos found on the roadside around the outskirts of Sydney, animal rescuers fear.
While dog owners often hack the limbs off roadkill to feed their animals, wildlife carers say recent finds do not appear to be about harvesting meat.
Those of particular concern involve one animal found missing its scrotum, and another which looked to have had its head sliced off, leading one rescuer to worry that “it appears to be a bit of a trend”.
WIRES volunteer Inga Tiere told Yahoo News Australia that she was heading out to the shops on Wednesday morning when she received a call from a friend who was “in shock” and “almost in tears”.
The lady had discovered the mutilated body of a kangaroo.
Rescuer works to spare children from horror kangaroo find
Ms Tiere diverted from her course and headed to the regional town of Couridjah, in the Macarthur region, south-west of Sydney.
Lying on the side of the road was the body of a small eastern grey kangaroo which she noticed had head trauma and was missing its legs and tail.
“I’ve seen this sort of thing before, but not as bad as this particular one,” she said.
“I have found kangaroos out here with their tails missing, or they’ve been gutted, or had their intestines taken.”
“This one definitely had had its legs severed by a human.”
Disgusted by what she saw, Ms Thiere worked quickly to spare any passing motorists or pedestrians from the sight.
Last October, in a separate incident, a 14-year-old child walked into his yard in nearby Appin and stumbled across a dead wallaby with its face removed. Ms Thiere didn’t want a repeat of that.
“If people are mutilating them, at least don’t leave the bodies there for people, especially children, to see,” Ms Thiere said.
“It’s very upsetting.”
Ms Thiere covered the kangaroo with a yellow towel and reported the incident to the police.
Moments later two children rode by on pushbikes. They didn’t notice the body.
Headless kangaroo thought to be trophy find
The find was enough to make Ms Thiere turn around and go home, but within minutes she was compelled to pull her car over again.
Lying on the ground in the suburb of nearby Thirlmere she found a second kangaroo.
Its limbs were still attached, but its head was missing, leading her to suspect the animal was mutilated for the purpose of taking a trophy.
Having witnessed countless instances of animal abuse, there was no time for emotion, and Ms Thiere set about documenting her find.
“I’ve done all my crying over the years,” she said.
“I just hope the animal was dead before it was [decapitated].”
Facebook user found kangaroo with missing scrotum days earlier
Scrolling through Facebook on Wednesday evening, registered wildlife rescuer Emma Hitchins stumbled across a startling post.
Ms Thiere had detailed her horrific experiences from that morning online, hoping that sharing the information would lead to those responsible being found.
Ms Hitchins felt a sense of dread; earlier in the week, she had also found a mutilated animal.
On Monday, just after 5am, she was driving to work through Moss Vale when she saw a dead kangaroo by the roadside.
She stopped the car to check the marsupial for a surviving joey but couldn’t find its pouch.
“I pulled over to check him and couldn’t see any scrotum, so I thought instantly it was a girl,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
“But then I looked him over and realised there’s no pouch there.
“Down lower where the scrotum should sit there was a nice clean cut.”
Ms Hitchens instantly suspected that the animal’s appendage was taken as a trophy.
“If you’re going to take meat for a dog you take a leg, not a pair of kangaroo jewels,” she said.
“It was a beautiful clean cut so there was no way they were eaten by anything.
“I found it quite disturbing.”
WIRES are asking anyone with information about the incidents to contact NSW police or the RSPCA.
“Cruelty against ay animal is punishable by law and native animals are also protected by the government,” a WIRES spokesperson said.
The author, Michael Dahlstrom, is a registered wildlife carer in NSW.
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