Sleepy tourist towns rocked by 'shocking' kangaroo torture

·Environment Editor
·4-min read

WARNING - CONFRONTING IMAGES: Kangaroos have been desecrated and tortured in yet another series of horrifying events in Victoria last week.

One incident at Healesville, near the Yarra Valley wine region, involved two kangaroos being shot with arrows.

An even more unsettling act appears to have occurred at Loch Sport, a sleepy tourist town on the Gippsland Lakes.

Left - Two kangaroo legs tied with cord. Middle - two human fingers holding the cord. Right - a fence leading into water
A kangaroo was found at Loch Sport with its neck and legs bound to a submerged fence. Source: Supplied

There, not far from the famed Ninety Mile Beach, wildlife volunteers were called after a kangaroo was found dead in a body of water, tethered to a fence with nylon cord.

Wildlife torture harming mental health of rescuers

Yahoo News Australia first became aware of the incidents following a tip-off from advocacy group Victorian Kangaroo Alliance.

Spokesperson Alyssa Wormald described the events as just two of an "ongoing assault on kangaroos".

"We are receiving reports from across the state of kangaroos and their joeys left suffering," she said.

Animal harm in Victoria is also of “increasing concern” to Wildlife Victoria CEO Lisa Palma and her rescue volunteers. She described last week's incidents as "deeply disturbing".

“It has a profound impact on the mental health of our first responders and it has to stop,” she told Yahoo News Australia.

“It is absolutely not okay to deliberately torture and harm an innocent native animal that is just going about its business.”

Left - a person crouching next to a kangaroo. Right - an arrow on the ground.
It is hoped someone may recognise the type of arrow used to shoot kangaroos in Healesville. Source: Supplied

Both incidents have been reported to the Department of Environment (DELWP), and its investigations arm, the Conservation Regulator, is following up both matters.

“Actions of cruelty to wildlife are illegal and unacceptable,” a spokesperson said.

“Inquiries are being made by the Conservation Regulator to determine the details of these allegations.”

Kangaroo found dead and tied to fence

Wildlife rescuer Theresa Matthews, contacted DELWP on Wednesday about the kangaroo found at Loch Sport, but she worries those responsible will never be caught.

“In the end, you fear it doesn’t matter what I do, no one is going to catch them” she said.

“But I reported it anyway, so the poor thing wouldn’t have died for nothing. Someone’s got to answer for this.

A dead kangaroo on the ground at night with a cord around its neck.
The volunteer who attended the scene at Loch Sport was left disturbed by what he found. Source: Supplied

While it is unclear whether the kangaroo was alive or dead when placed in the lake, it is understood its body has now been removed from public view and disposed of without a necropsy being performed.

Ms Matthews said Wayne Swetnam, the rescuer who attended the scene, was left “shocked” and “pretty shaken”, despite him being “one of those great big tough men”.

He told Yahoo News Australia finding the kangaroo submerged in the water “wasn’t pretty”.

“If it was alive when it went in the drink, that's certainly not good,” he said.

“I couldn’t see any other obvious injuries on it, but the cord around its neck was tight and it was submerged when I got there.

“It’s really not a good look.”

While there are surveillance cameras at a nearby marina, it is yet to be determined whether they have captured those responsible for dumping the kangaroo.

Concern more kangaroos may be suffering arrow injuries

In a separate incident at Healesville, one kangaroo was left dead and another injured in a bow and arrow attack on private property at Ryans Road, Healesville.

The incident was first reported on June 19, and since then wildlife volunteer Leonie Sorrentino, and other members of Vets For Compassion, have been tracking a survivor of the attacks.

Two images of the male kangaroo with an arrow in its side.
A male kangaroo was also shot with an arrow, but he managed to remove it and appears to be recovering. Source: Supplied

While the animal was able to remove the projectile from his side, a smaller female was less fortunate and found dead with an arrow in her spine.

“If there's a couple there, it's possible there could be more,” Ms Sorrentio fears.

“They’re quite a calm mob there, and obviously someone must be trespassing on the property.”

Ms Sorrentino said while she is not confident those responsible will be caught, she is hoping someone may recognise the arrowhead found in the dead kangaroo.

Anyone with information about either incident is urged to contact Crime Stoppers or the Conservation Regulator.

Fines of $43,617 and 24 months imprisonment are the maximum penalty for illegally hunting, taking or destroying threatened wildlife in Victoria.

A maximum fine of $3,634 can be applied to those found to have wilfully injured, disturbed, or chased protected wildlife.

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