Hunting roo killers

A WILDLIFE carer who tried in vain to save kangaroos and joeys injured after they were mown down by a vehicle in Loch Sport on the night of February 24, is pleading with people who have information to go to authorities.

Loch Sport residents woke to disturbing scenes of carnage, following what appears to have been a four-wheel-drive killing spree.

A visibly shaken Our Haven Wildlife Shelter owner and carer, Theresa Matthews, who dedicates her life to saving injured wildlife, said her volunteer carers and husband ‘Scruff’ were some of the first on the scene on the Saturday morning.

“The phones just started ringing, and there were people really upset, and more and more calls from different streets were coming in,” she said.

Theresa couldn’t leave the 26 injured and sick kangaroos already homed at the Golden Beach shelter, and said as she took more and more calls, she became increasingly distressed.

Photos she saw of the scenes haunt her.

“There were just bodies scattered everywhere; there were babies next to them with broken legs and broken backs,” she said.

“All those ones in Lakes St were on the road; they were run over on the curb.

“I think there was six, including two at-foot joeys, on Lakes St alone.

“One of the ones that had tyre marks up to it on the way into Loch Sport was such a long way off the road.”

Theresa said the 70-kilogram kangaroo must have been deliberately chased off the road.

Some of the kangaroos died on impact, while others had to be euthanised.

“Scruff does all the euthanising … in his eight years (rescuing), he said he’d never seen a group of that many kangaroos in one area,” she said.

Theresa couldn’t put an exact number on the kangaroos hit, as more could be found.

“My husband had to go back the next day,” she said.

“They found a mother with a joey at-foot and a pinky, and there’ll probably be more over the next week, because they drag themselves into the bush.”

Horrifically, Theresa also detailed how two of the mothers’ pouches had been cut open, and the joeys snatched.

“They hadn’t just cut their pouch, they cut circles in their pouches and the skin was missing, and the babies were gone,” she said.

Because of the size of the mothers’ teats and milk leakage, Theresa said joeys had been suckling in the pouches before their mothers were hit.

A wallaby was also found without its young.

“None of them (the joeys) came to me, and they didn’t go to the vets’, so I’m just praying that the people that purposefully mowed them down didn’t get their hands on them,” she said.

In another twist, Theresa asked a friend to return to the scene an hour later and take photos of the pouches that were cut — but someone had removed the kangaroo bodies.

“Every body on that street — every single body — had gone, and nobody knows where they’ve gone,” she said.

“The guy who does removal of bodies, he said he didn’t do it, the SES didn’t do it,” she said.

Theresa believes a trailer or a ute would have been needed to haul away so many bodies.

Of those kangaroos that did survive the attack, Theresa, Scruff and their team tried their best to try and save them, but all have since died.

“I had a little pinky; it’s buried in my garden,” Theresa said.

“I knew it wasn’t going to make it because of the size of it.

“I had an at-foot joey here on a bed, and because its tail flickered a bit, I couldn’t bring myself to say put it down.

“I knew in my heart its back was broken, but I was hoping just maybe I was wrong, but then Scruff took it to the vets and it had to be euthanased — its back was broken.

“So there’s nothing, nothing left from that night. “For me, it was just soul-destroying … I’m using everything I have to try and save them.

“This has happened before, and it’s happened here in Golden Beach before, but not on such a big scale.

“There’s lots of cruelty in these towns.”

Theresa said she now hesitated to answer the phone, because every day she received another call about an injured or killed animal.

“I lost Dale last night (a kangaroo she had been caring for), buried her this morning … it’s so hard to see so much bad stuff all the time,” she said.

Theresa is pleading for people with information to come forward so authorities could bring those responsible for the killings to justice.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning resource protection program manager Craig Oldis said animal cruelty attracted penalties of up to a year in jail and fines of about $45,000.

Mr Oldis confirmed someone driving a 60s series brown LandCruiser with numerous lights on the roof and bullbar had been seen acting suspiciously in the area on the morning of the kangaroo deaths.

DELWP authorised officers have been in Loch Sport speaking with locals and gathering information.

People with information can phone the DELWP customer service centre on 136 186, Sale Criminal Investigation Unit on 5142 2200, or report it anonymously to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

People can donate to Our Haven Wildlife Shelter via www.ourhavenwildlifeshelter.org.au.