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65 dead kangaroos found in Australia, triggers criminal investigation: “The worst thing I have ever seen”

65 dead kangaroos found in Australia, triggers criminal investigation: “The worst thing I have ever seen”

Australian authorities said on Thursday they were investigating the illegal killing of at least 65 kangaroos that were found shot or apparently hit by a vehicle.

A local wildlife sanctuary alerted Victoria state wildlife authorities after the eastern grey kangaroos were found on remote pastures about 120 kilometres north of Melbourne on June 22, authorities said.

“At least three of the kangaroos were found alive but had to be euthanized due to the severity of their injuries,” the state’s conservation officer said. “Two baby kangaroos were recovered and are being cared for at an animal sanctuary.”

The marsupials suffered fatal gunshot wounds and “traumatic injuries consistent with being struck by a vehicle,” the regulator said.

Used shotgun cartridges were found in the area.

Local wildlife rescuer Tania Begg found some of the dead kangaroos on June 22, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation reported.

“It was pretty horrific… they had broken legs, gunshot wounds, it was shocking,” she told the broadcaster.

She told the broadcaster that she found more dead kangaroos in the days following the first discovery.

“They were on the side of the road, in paddocks, everywhere. They were huge kangaroos,” she told ABC. “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

Although kangaroos are protected in Australia, the most common species are not endangered.

This means that they can be shot and killed in most jurisdictions, although this requires government permission.

To keep the population under control, kangaroos, whose numbers vary between 30 and 60 million nationwide, are often killed.

The animals’ population cycles fluctuate: when there is plenty of food after a good rainy season, their numbers can increase by several tens of millions.

In addition, up to five million kangaroos are shot each year to obtain meat, animal feed and leather from their carcasses.