Hunter wildlife rescuers fear that a kangaroo stuck with an arrow at Muswellbrook maybe the victim of a copycat attack, after the killing of the popular Zimbabwean lion, Cecil.
The eastern grey kangaroo was discovered by a man walking his dog along Coal Road at Muswellbrook about 11am on Thursday morning.
Julie Smith, the macropod coordinator for the animal protection organisation Wildlife Aid, said Muswellbrook police attended believing the animal would need to be euthanased but, as they approached, the animal got to its feet and very slowly moved on.
‘‘You could see this massive arrow sticking out from under him,’’ Mrs Smith said.
‘‘At first we thought it was stuck in his stomach but it seems to be coming out of his rib cage.’’
‘‘What sport is that? I have seen a lot of terrible things because I have been doing this for 20 years but to see this animal, and he’s a big boy, with this arrow sticking out of him, it’s absolutely disgusting.
‘‘It went through my mind that it could be a copy cat thing. We have in the past had a kangaroo shot by an arrow but it was few years back. Ordinarily, when people are culling kangaroos, they would be shooting them, they would have to have a licence, and the numbers are controlled by the National Parks and Wildlife Service.
‘‘I am just thinking it’s just idiots up there, just idiots.’’
Wildlife Aid animal carer Andrew Lee said they have not been able to get close enough to the roo to establish how seriously it is injured. They are hoping to get hold of a tranquiliser gun to sedate the animal and bring it in for veterinary care.
However, the animal could not be re-located on Friday despite search efforts by up to four animal rescuers at a time.
Muswellbrook-based Sergeant Andrew Googe confirmed said officers had been called out to help locate and assess the animal on Thursday morning.
‘‘The police would look dimly on people illegally hunting up there on the Muswellbrook Common,’’ he said.’’
The roo attack follows an outpouring of grief and anger over the bow and arrow injury of Cecil, a well known and much-loved lion and prime tourist attraction at the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe.
He was hunted down by Walter Palmer, an American dentist. It has been widely reported that he wounded the animal with a crossbow and arrow, then spent two days tracking it and killing it, skinning it, and leaving the carcass to rot.
His kill list is reported to include 43 game animals, such as caribou, deer, buffalo, moose and a polar bear.
He has issued a statement of regret about Cecil’s death saying: ‘‘I had no idea that the lion I took was a known, local favourite, was collared and part of a study until the end of the hunt. I relied on the expertise of my local professional guides to ensure a legal hunt.’’
Anyone with information about the injured kangaroo at Muswellbrook can call Wildlife Aid on 0429 850 089.