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Walkers fearful after 'creepy' finds on dark Hobart track

There is growing concern after reports of three separate sightings, including a severed wallaby head.

WARNING – DISTURBING CONTENT: The discovery of a series of mutilated animal carcasses left near a popular Hobart cycling track has a female walker worried for her safety.

The remains were found at entrances to the Rivulet Track, with the most recent being a decapitated wallaby with its head discarded nearby. It was photographed by 35-year-old Sonia who passed it while cycling to work on February 27.

“It was a very clean cut, so not a dog or cat attack, it was probably done with an axe,” she told Yahoo News Australia. “It was very creepy.”

A map of the Rivulet showing where the three incidents occurred.
Three alleged incidents of animal mutilation have occurred on Hobart's Rivulet Track. Source: Google Maps/Yahoo

The track is a 2.7km zig-zag route that runs at the base of Mount Wellington (kunanyi) through forest and dark graffiti-covered tunnels. Walkers are warned they should bring their own torches and avoid parts of the route during wet weather due to it being slippery.

Previous horrors found near the Rivulet Track include:

  • A wallaby head impaled on a stake at the Molle Street entrance, reported on February 5.

  • An unknown animal strung up in a tree in 2021 at the Wynyard Street entrance, reported to local media.

Call for CCTV to be installed after animal mutilations

Derek Knox, founder of Animal Rescue Collective, a national wildlife rescue network, said the three incidents together “raise questions about what is happening” along the track. “CCTV is likely needed,” he said.

Left - the decapitated wallaby on McKellar street. Right - The impaled head on Molle Street.
A decapitated wallaby was found on February 27 (left). In a separate incident a wallaby head was reported on February 5. Source: Supplied/The Murcury

Installing cameras along the track has also been suggested by RSPCA Tasmania CEO Jan Davis who described the January 5 incident as “totally unnecessary, thoughtless and cruel” to The Mercury.

Female cyclist no longer feels safe on Hobart track

Sonia, who discovered the decapitated wallaby said while the track is “beautiful” she is increasingly feeling unsafe using it. “Being a female you don’t feel overly comfortable when there are no cameras or lights, particularly during winter,” she said.

While it’s unknown if the incidents are linked, involved animal cruelty, or were just sick pranks, Sonia fears those behind the mutilations could be a threat to people. “Dead animals being strung up in trees and decapitated heads is probably something that could escalate,” she said. “I don’t want to be attacked and I don’t want other people feeling uncomfortable on the track either.”

The City of Hobart said it “strongly condemns” any harm inflicted on wildlife, but said installation of CCTV along the track was “unrealistic”, citing the track’s length and a lack of existing infrastructure to enable installation as hurdles.

“The City of Hobart has highly trained and knowledgeable bushland, parks and biodiversity staff that regularly run specialised programs, and walk and maintain the Hobart Rivulet who are always on the lookout for any issues,” the city’s Neil Noye said in a statement.

Anyone with information about incidents along the track is urged to contact Tasmania Police and the Department of Nature Resources and Environment Tasmania.

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