RSPCA South Australia is calling for public help in identifying the person or persons responsible for a recent spate of crossbow attacks on kangaroos on the outskirts of Whyalla.
With the help of a local animal rescue group, Whyalla-based RSPCA South Australia Inspector Andre Sliedrecht has managed to locate and euthanise one kangaroo suffering with a crossbow arrow protruding from its chest.
However, several people have reported seeing up to three other kangaroos, still alive with arrows stuck through their chests and necks.
The arrow removed from the dead kangaroo is a 52cm Hori-Zone Carbon Aftershock Arrow, designed for use in any size crossbow. This particular arrow was not fitted with a broadhead.
According to Inspector Sliedrecht, broadhead arrows are more commonly used for hunting because they cause massive blood loss and therefore a quicker, more humane death.
“The absence of a broadhead on the arrows being used in these attacks makes it more likely to cause a slow, painful death,” he said.
“The arrow I removed from this poor animal is designed for shooting at targets, not animals.”
People have reported seeing the injured kangaroos on council land close to residential areas, according to the RSPCA.
They have also been seen on private property, and the landholder has advised RSPCA South Australia that he has not given permission for hunting to take place on his property.
“It’s highly likely that someone has witnessed this hunting,” Inspector Sliedrecht said, adding that an adult or even a child could possibly be taking aim at kangaroos from their backyard.
“I need everyone to have their eyes open around our township because this is not just happening on a remote property.
“It’s happening on our doorstep.”
The animals are roaming in a flat desert, saltbush environment making it difficult to get close enough to humanely euthanise them by shooting.
“It is very frustrating and distressing to see these kangaroos with horrific, senseless injuries but not be able to get close enough to end their pain,” Inspector Sliedrecht said.
“Whoever is responsible clearly has no regard for the extreme suffering their actions have inflicted on these defenceless animals.”
Crossbows and pistol crossbows are prohibited weapons under the Summary Offences Regulations 2016. Anyone caught hunting wildlife with these weapons faces a potential $20,000 fine or 2 years imprisonment.
The attacks reinforce RSPCA South Australia’s recent decision to release full details of its animal cruelty case files, giving South Australians a no-holds-barred look at the horror of animal suffering occurring every day across our state.
The publication of RSPCA prosecution case files from the 2017/18 financial year – the first such information release in Australia – is part of a major ‘Combat Cruelty’ media and advertising campaign launched last month.
By exposing the scale of chronic animal neglect within SA for the first time, the Society hopes the community will acknowledge the gravity of the situation and help address it.
Already, hundreds of South Australians have taken RSPCA’s new Combat Cruelty pledge at www.combatcruelty.com.
Anyone with any information in regards to the kangaroo attacks near Whyalla is asked to contact RSPCA South Australia’s 24-hour cruelty report hotline on 1300 4 777 22.