The decapitated body of a slaughtered wallaby has shocked morning walkers who stumbled upon the gruesome discovery on the path to Byron Bay lighthouse yesterday.
A disgusted Byron Bay reservation consultant, Amy Prideaux, told Echonetdaily she found the animal less than a metre from the path between Wategos and The Pass on her Sunday morning walk.
‘It was clearly done by a human as the cut was clean and neat reflecting the precision only a razor sharp knife could make,’ she said.
‘Why someone would want to do this and how it came about baffles and disgusts me.’
She said she managed to flag down a passing driver who called the police on her behalf, and waited 40 minutes.
‘I called them another half an hour later to be told it was not on their priorities list,’ she said.
‘So I contacted WIRES and hopefully someone was able to remove the body before the Sunday crowds arrived.’
Another morning walker, Jerry Pressnell, agreed with Ms Prideaux’s assessment of the remains, saying council staff removing the body later Sunday morning told him the cut was too clean to be from wild dogs or other predators.
‘I asked the council worker if it was a dog attack – he replied it was a clean knife cut through the neck,’ he said.
‘I have seen sheep who have been attacked by dogs and this was too clean. I’m no expert but it looked like the head had been clean cut.’
Tweed Byron LAC duty officer, Inspector Greg Jago, confirmed this morning it wasn’t a police matter and said officers would have passed on the details to the relevant authorities, in this case the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Byron Shire Council.
The NPWS’s Lawrence Orel said the service was responsible for such investigations and took the slaughter of any protected wildlife extremely seriously.
‘The important thing at this stage that anyone with any information on this matter, or what may have led to it, contact us directly on 6620 9300,’ he said.
The grisly find follows reports of a similar discovery at Suffolk Park beach several weeks ago, and a series of shootings last year on Seven Mile Beach between Byron Bay and Lennox Head where the remains of about 12 wallabies were discovered over several weeks.
No one has been charged with any of those offences.
In a speech to Parliament in September last year, Lennox Head-based Liberal MLC, Catherine Cusack, called for tougher penalties saying the Seven Mile Beach slaughter highlighted authorities’ inability to enforce existing laws protecting native wildlife ahead of the introduction of recreational hunting in some of the state’s national parks.
Ms Cusack feared more killings might be going unreported as few people realised such offences had to be reported to the National Parks and Wildlife Service for investigation, and that the service had only one investigator working between Newcastle and the Queensland border.
‘I respectfully submit our regulatory system is unprepared and inadequately resourced for dealing with these crimes,’ Ms Cusack told Parliament.
‘The government proposes to open a large area of national parks in this region, in addition to state forests, for recreational hunting – there is absolutely no way one National Parks and Wildlife Service investigator for wildlife protection will be adequate.’