Bohollow Kangaroos Shot
Thursday, 30th July 2014
I was informed by one of the neighbours of our release property that morning that the gates were wide open. He was just checking up to make sure I had opened them and was out there. I assured him that no one should be there and he kindly offered to go over and check it out as I live 50 minutes away.
Daryl rang me back a short time later and to my dismay, the news was all bad.
The night before, someone had driven their vehicles through our double gates and smashed them open. The gates were heavily padlocked and the force of impact had snapped the big strainer post right off at the ground and broken the chain.
Two vehicles had driven into the 170 acre property and shot at the resident kangaroos. Daryl told me he had followed the wheel tracks in through the grass and had found two dead roos. He said he couldn't get the gates shut again because of the damaged strainer post.
With a heavy heart, I rang Deb.
This property has been locked up for the environment since I first acquired the land back in 1998. It is under a Trust For Nature covenant and signed as a Wildlife Reserve with No Trespassing and No Shooting signs. The land is in a natural floodway, contains original woodland and is a kangaroo and wallaby haven.
This is where we have Roo Camp each year. When the young roos and wallabies which Deb and other carers have raised are ready for release, we stay with them for a couple of days until they intergrate with the resident mob.
Daryl told me that the two roos he found shot were young ones so I knew the possibility of them being two of the little roos we had released at Easter, or from the previous year's release, were really high.
Deb was as shocked as I was at the news and I told her I would head straight over to see what the damage was and to check for any roos who may have been injured in the shooting.
My children, a friend who was with us and myself all went in different directions searching for any roos which may have been injured but still alive. I headed into the bushland. I could see a shape which I thought looked the right colour and shape for a fallen roo. Sure enough, when I checked with binoculars it was definitely a kangaroo. It had been shot in the stomach too and was a young female. As I dragged her out, back to the ute, I was able to follow her blood trail for about 100m back to near where one of the others had been found. She had obviously travelled into the bush for cover but had bled out from her injuries.
We could not find any others but an injured roo could easily make it's way off the property. The wheel tracks went straight in and before they hit the back boundary they both turned and went straight back out on the tracks they came in on. Daryl had heard the shooting the night before and before he could get out and move them on the vehicles were going past his place on the road. He had no idea they had broken in and been on the place. He said the time he could hear shooting and vehicles was not longer than half hour, possibly less.
A report was filed with the Kyabram Police but without number plates or any solid evidence there was no way of catching the culprits.
The incident is a violation on a number of counts. It is breaking and entering, trespassing, shooting illegaly from a roadside and on private property, killing a protected species and also is a crime against the environmental covenant which the property is under.
So many emotions run through us in relation to this barbaric act. The roos on the property exist there as they know it is safe. We release shelter youngsters there as we thought it was relatively safe. We have always had trouble with spot lighters shooting from the roadside into the property and Daryl is usually pretty quick to get out there and move them on. This is another level altogether. Whoever committed this crime has caused wilful damage with the sole purpose of shooting the kangaroos on private property.
It was a sad day for Bohollow, also a sad day for our society, displaying just what people are capable of in the wanton destruction of our wildlife and the environment. This act is a blatant disregard for others property and beliefs.
Thank you to my neighbour, Daryl, for calling me as soon as he noticed the gates open and for investigating it for me before I could get there. Thank you to Dave, for helping me search for the roos. Thank you to Ken, who fixed the gates for me.
You could see where the first vehicle had run at speed off the road and smashed through the gates.I drove through and it was easy to follow the two vehicles fresh wheel tracks through the grass into the heart of the property. They had driven along the edge of bushland and the main grazing area of the roos. It didn't take very long at all to find the first two. One had been shot in the neck and the other had been shot in the stomach with a hollow point bullet. Both young males and both directly alongside the wheel tracks.