Animal cruelty ‘on rise’ in Macedon Ranges

A friendly kangaroo who provided years of companionship for a now deceased Macedon resident is recovering after being shot in the shoulder.

Macedon Ranges Wildlife Network says the incident early this month was another example of increasing cruelty towards native animals.

‘Joe’, who has lived on a Macedon property for about six years, survived the ordeal but will need significant veterinary treatment to ensure he makes a full recovery.

His shooting comes two months after a wombat was illegally shot and killed in Pastoria, leaving a baby orphaned. An ibis was recently shot with an arrow near Woodend.

Network spokeswoman Fiona Corke said native wildlife was protected by law, and she called on the state government to do more.

‘‘It can’t be left up to groups like ours; we are under enough pressure as it is,’’ she said.

Network volunteer Sue Anderson said Joe had grown up being hand-fed by a Macedon resident around whom the kangaroo used to wrap his arms.

‘‘He’s so gentle,” she said. “It’s quite disturbing that someone would do this.’’

Ms Corke acknowledged Joe could have been shot under the Environment Department’s direct control measures.

‘‘This is just an example of the kind of thing that can happen with the permits,’’ she said.

‘‘People don’t even have to prove they are a good shot.’’

Ms Corke said wildlife volunteers had found kangaroos with their jaws hanging off and shoulders torn apart by shotgun pellets.

Landholders can apply for a permit to use direct control techniques, such as dispersal or culling, if wildlife is damaging crops and buildings or threatening human safety.

Last month, Star Weekly reported that  79 permits to get rid of 2180 kangaroos were granted in the Macedon Ranges in the past year.