Three emus have died as a result of what may have been an intentional hit-and-run in Victoria’s Gippsland region.
The horrific photo of the three juvenile emus lying on the road was shared to Facebook by Help For Wildlife on January 25.
The baby emus were hit by a vehicle on Monday at Golden Beach, along Ninety Mile Beach.
“What a terrible sight for a carer to attend today,” the Facebook post said.
“A huge thank you to Marnie for attending and ending the suffering of the one left to die in this horrible heat. These we believe may have been deliberately run down. This family were commonly seen along this Rd.”
When Marnie, a wildlife carer, arrived at Golden Beach, two of the birds were already dead and the third had a broken leg and had to be put down.
Locals notified Marnie of the birds and she drove 150km to reach them.
Speaking to AAP, Sue Kirwan of Help for Wildlife said Marnie is still upset over the confronting scene.
“It's probably the part of what we do that people don't really get to see. We don't often post it (online) as there are some really horrible outcomes of what we attend,” Ms Kirwan said.
Rescuers are adamant the birds were mowed down by a motorist deliberately.
"It had to be a four-wheel drive with a bull bar," Ms Kirwan said on Wednesday.
"They are a heavy-bodied bird. A normal car would have had a fair bit of damage done to it, cleaning up three of the poor things."
Person responsible urged to come forward
The emus were part of a family of six, four babies and the parents, according to Ms Kirwan,
She is now urging for the person responsible to come forward,
“At least if they say 'it was an accident, we weren't sure what to do', that would give us some closure," Ms Kirwan said.
"But there are some a**holes around ... that do this sort of thing. It just makes you wonder what sort of humans they are."
No one witnessed the accident and Help For Wildlife has not reported it to the police, saying it would be a “dead end”.
On social media, people were outraged by the potentially deliberate attack.
“Words can’t even describe how horrific this is,” one person wrote on Facebook.
“Angry and sad at the same time,” another said.
“People can be absolutely disgusting.”
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) also released a statement about the emus, with spokesperson Emily Rice condemning the “senseless killing”.
“Rescuers believe this hit and run was deliberate, and it took a toll not only on the two birds who died on-scene but also on the third baby, who suffered a painful injury, and the wildlife carer who had to euthanise him or her,” Ms Rice said.
“Our native animals are already threatened by climate change, fires, and – specific to emus – the risk of contracting avian flu. The last thing they need is to be slaughtered out of ignorance and speciesism.”
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