Wildlife manager 'removed from role' over photos with dead game animals

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

A West Australian government wildlife manager who was photographed posing with dead exotic animals at a South African game lodge has been "removed" from the position but still works with the department.

Jewell Crossberg was appointed acting district manager in Esperance for the Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions on July 1.

Two days later - after photos posted on his Facebook page showing him posing with dead giraffes, zebras and elephants in 2010 emerged in the media - the department said he had "disclosed his professional background in integrated conservation and authorised African game reserve management".

Jewell Crossberg poses with a gun in his right hand and his left arm around the head of a dead giraffe.
Jewell Crossberg has been removed from his role as acting district manager of WA's Department of Biodiversity, Conservation and Attractions in Esperance. Source: Nine News

They said he had "consistently performed his duties to the required standard" since 2017, including doing conservation work with traditional owners in the Goldfields and Kimberley regions.

But on Friday, director general Mark Webb announced Mr Crossberg had been removed from the Esperance role.

"The images published in the media last week are not reflective of the department's values or the outstanding wildlife conservation work that our partners, staff and volunteers deliver across Western Australia every day," Mr Webb said in a statement.

"Future recruitment undertakings, particularly for leadership positions within the department, will prioritise strong values alignment with the department and any potential successful applicant."

A spokeswoman confirmed to AAP that Mr Crossberg remained employed with the department but in a non-managerial role.

Jewell Crossberg poses with the carcasses of a zebra, a giraffe and a wildebeest. In one photo he holds a gun.
Mr Crossberg remains employed with the department but in a non-managerial role. Source: 9News

In its earlier statement, the department said his initial appointment had been done in accordance with the Public Sector Management Act and his managerial role came after a competitive recruitment process involving a selection panel.

The images have since been deleted.

Premier Mark McGowan said the decision to remove Mr Crossberg from his position was "better than nothing" but described his prior behaviour as depraved and disgraceful.

"I regard the things he's done in his past as disgusting ... beyond anything, almost," he told reporters on Friday.

"I am constrained by employment law as to what can be done.

"What they've done so far, or what's happened so far, I'm not happy with.

"His position is not something I can control."

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