On the morning of Sunday the 28th of July, the Wildlife Victoria Emergency Response Service received a call for a sighting of an eastern grey kangaroo that had been shot with two arrows. Reports came from Endeavour Hills, 31km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD, where the kangaroo was still mobile despite her horrific condition. She had two arrows lodged in her body, one at the top of her leg, the second in her back. A group of volunteer rescuers were dispatched to search for the creature in surrounding paddocks. Unfortunately the kangaroo evaded capture for the day with the search resumed on Monday.
A team of experienced Wildlife Victoria volunteer kangaroo rescuers were assembled to scour the parkland and scrub on Monday morning. The greatest concern was that the kangaroo would not survive an extended period under immense stress and at high risk of serious infection. The rescuers were also unsure if the arrows had pierced vital organs as one arrow sat dangerously close to the spine.
After hours of searching on the second day the weakened kangaroo was found and safely tranquilised before being transported to a vet for emergency surgery. Once she was safely captured it became apparent that she had been caring for a joey that had recently fled or been thrown from her pouch, in all likelihood as a result of the attack. The search continued without respite but no sign of the tiny joey could be found.
At the veterinary practice, the arrows were removed and Hilary the kangaroo, as she had been dubbed, was carefully monitored in recovery. The arrow that was embedded by her spine sank 14cm into her small frame.
The arrow remains were passed to police to investigate the disgraceful attack. Sadly this type of cruelty is not new to Wildlife Victoria as we receive multiple cases of native wildlife attacked with arrows each year. The practice that often leaves defenceless creatures to die agonising deaths from internal injuries or infection still shocks the most experienced rescuers and emergency phone operators.
Hilary appears to be recovering well following the lifesaving surgery but she’s not out of the woods just yet. Though she will be closely monitored and treated, this type of attack can result in a series of delayed symptoms from infection to severe stress.
Our hopes are with her to make a full recovery and be suitable for release to join her mob soon.
If you have any information regarding this case please call the Endeavour Hills Police Station immediately on (03) 9709 7666.
UPDATE: Wednesday 31st July 2013
Victoria Police have advised Wildlife Victoria that they are interviewing a 21 year old man from Dandenong in relation to this case after he handed himself in at 4pm on Tuesday 30 July 2013.
Meanwhile, Wildlife Victoria volunteers report that Hilary is recovering really well. She's up and alert and the initial signs are really positive. Her wounds were healing well although vets have raised concerns about possible infection, so she is being closely monitored. She is being treated with anitibiotics and pain medication. If she continues to improve at this rate, she will be released her back with her mob in no time.
UPDATE: Monday 12th August 2013
We’re extremely sad to report that Hilary the eastern grey kangaroo has passed away over the weekend. On Monday 29th July she was rescued in Endeavour Hills after being shot with 2 arrows in yet another shocking case of animal cruelty.
She survived surgery to remove the arrows and had been recovering well at a wildlife shelter for the past two weeks.
Unfortunately however, on Saturday afternoon she was found dead in her enclosure. Volunteers looking after Hilary said they “fell in love with her. She was such a lovely girl and did not deserve this”. Tears have been flowing as Hilary touched many hearts and we all hoped that she would make a miraculous recovery, but it wasn’t to be. Her injuries were too severe and as much as Hilary showed some promising signs of recovery, the stress and pain was just too much for her.
Photo: Volunteer Sue with Hilary after she passed away
It’s so unfortunate that any animal could be harmed and killed in such a callous attack and we thank Hilary for the fight she put up, allowing us to highlight that animal cruelty is not acceptable in our community.
Shockingly, since this incident, two other people have been found in the same area with crossbows – they were reported to police and have been questioned.
Wildlife Victoria thanks the amazing volunteers who put in so much effort and love in helping Hilary. Our thoughts are with them in this tough time.