Animals left in agony at roadside

WHAT started as a research mission looking for infected kangaroos turned into a horrific discovery for a Rose City wildlife carer, after she found nearly 60 mutilated animals by the side of roads across the Southern Downs.

Warwick wildlife carer Maggie Hughes made the first of a series of shocking discoveries while looking for dead kangaroos potentially infected with a current epidemic of E. Coli.

"I was driving out to Inglewood when I found a big male Eastern Grey Kangaroo injured by the side of the road," she said.

"He had his testicles removed and had a broken hip."

The passionate wildlife carer described the sight as absolutely horrific, as she sat with the kangaroo while he died.

"The fact I could sit there and hold his hand while he died just shows how much pain he was in," she said.

"I gave him an entire bottle of Pain-Ease and I cried - I literally cried.

"I've seen some pretty horrible things in my time as a wildlife carer, but nothing could prepare me for that."

In the following three weeks, Ms Hughes found nearly 60 mutilated creatures by the sides of roads around Warwick, Inglewood, Stanthorpe, Killarney and Yangan.

"I found 19 roos in one night on the road between Warwick and Inglewood," she said.

"One of the saddest things I found, which made me more determined to catch these people, was a mother and joey who had their skulls cut-out."

While her discoveries were mostly kangaroos and wallabies, Ms Hughes also found a number of other native animals' missing parts.

"I found an echidna which had a patch of its spines removed," she said.

"There was also a koala missing its claws."

This shocking case of animal cruelty is now under investigation by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and local police, with a special task force expected to look into the claims.

An EHP spokesperson told the Daily News that wildlife officers investigated the region on May 14, but could find no evidence of the animals reported.

"Wildlife officers also spoke to the carer and to police and investigations are continuing," he said.

"Acts such as those reported are an offence under the Nature Conservation Act and, depending on the circumstances, may be subject to action under other animal welfare laws."

The spokesperson said the penalties for such offences vary depending on the number of animals and other circumstances.

"It is difficult to speculate on the motives behind such activities without knowing who is involved," he said.

While the investigation is continuing, Ms Hughes said she has her suspicions as to what could be behind the shocking acts of cruelty.

"It has be some sort of black market trade - people making jewellery out of echidna spines or pouches made into purses," she said.

"You just don't know what it could be - there are some really sick people out there who eat animal parts as aphrodisiacs."

While the bodies may have disappeared, one thing is clear to Ms Hughes - these were no random acts of road kill.

"All the kangaroos had either smashed hips or bullet holes - shooting the hip disables them," she said.

Anyone with information on these incidents or who witness any tampering with wildlife, contact the RSPCA 1300 ANIMAL (1300 264 625), EHP on 1300 130 372 or their local police.

 DO you think there should be harsher penalties for animal cruelty? Tell us what you think on our Facebook page.

Maximum penalties

 Cruelty to animals: $69,000 fine, up to two years imprisonment and a ban from owning an animal for 10 years

 Taking wildlife and keeping or using taken wildlife (including killing/interfering): Up to $225,000 and one - two years imprisonment

Topics:  animal cruelty wildlife

WATCH: Men welcomed to women's group

Bev Hall, Diane Walsh, Denise Maycock and Margaret Grayson at the QCWA Scarf and High Tea day. Photo Sophie Lester / Warwick Daily News

Major change for nation's largest women's group

Rooster needed: too many eggs

ROOSTER HUNT:  Rhans Campbell and Alex Haynes were at the Pig and Calf Sale in search of a rooster.

THEY'VE already got themselves quite the menagerie at home.

Warwick welcomes newest citizens

NEW CITIZENS: Cr Rod Kelly and Mayor Tracy Dobie welcomed 18 of the newest Australian Citizens to the Southern Downs in an official ceremony in Warwick on Wednesday.

Southern Downs councillors welcome newest citizens

Local Partners

Australia Day Award nominations now open

ALL those who know someone who has made an outstanding contribution to the Warwick community is encouraged to nominate them for an Australia Day Award.

WATCH: NASA space station is live, see the view from above

In this picture taken from NASA's International Space Station from April 2015, the SpaceX Dragon is captured with the 57.7-foot-long Canadarm2 robotic arm before its installation to the Harmony module.

See the world from a new perspective as space station passes Rocky

Events you need to be at this week...

Some Australian sevens rugby squad members will be in Warwick this weekend.

It won't be all rodeo in Warwick this weekend

He's here for the Melbourne Cup of campdrafting

David Thorn from Cootamundra on Oh How Foxy.

David Thorn is here to make the most of the Warwick Rodeo.

RECAP: The Bachelorette S2E12 - the finale

Georgia Love pictured in a scene from The Bachelorette finale.

GEORGIA chooses Lee and leaves Matty J heartbroken.

The Bachelorette finale: Georgia declares her love for Lee

Georgia Love with The Bachelorette winner Lee Elliott.

MATTY J left heartbroken in emotional grand final.

Buy your own brothel: Scarlet Harem for sale

OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS: The Coast's first brothel, Scarlet Harem at Kunda Park, is up for sale.

Coast brothel madam sells up

Tom Cruise credits success to Scientology

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise credits his success to Scientology

Hacksaw Ridge leads AACTA Awards nominations

Andrew Garfield and Teresa Palmer in a scene from the movie Hacksaw Ridge.

MEL Gibson's wartime drama opens in cinemas next week.

ABBA to reunite for virtual live experience


ABBA have confirmed they are to reunite - in virtual reality form

Tough times in CBD: Woolies says goodbye Ipswich

Woolworths in the Ipswich Mall.Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times

The last day of trading will be January 1

Look at me! Kath and Kim home up for sale

Kath and Kim from the iconic Aussie TV series.

'Crack open the Baileys and grab a box of BBQ Shapes'

How to fit 100,000 new homes on the Coast

Property, real estate, housing, suburb,  August 2016

Fitting 2m extra people in south-east Qld in 25 years a balance

Hinterland horse stud passed in for $8.25 million

UNREAL: This Maleny estate is incredible.

12-bedroom hinterland horse stud still available

Hit songwriter's Noosa mansion on market

SPECIAL PLACE: The Cintamani estate is going to tender, marketed by Tom Offermann Real Estate.

Is this Queensland's best property?

Kiwi siblings snap up Dotcom mansion for $32.5m

The new toy company owners of the Coatesville mansion want replace any controversy with positivity and fun. Photo / Barfoot and Thompson

The trio paid $32.5 million for the property in June