Oak Valley Community and Wildlife Carers band together to protect wallabies

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Local residents and wildlife carers in Oak Valley are on the look out for a group of men who have been deliberately running over wallabies in the suburb.

by Caitlin Kelly

Local residents and wildlife carers became aware of hoons coming through the neighbourhood killing animals and running over wheelie bins.

“Often they are going off the edges of the road to hit the wallabies which is how we know it is deliberate,” says experienced macropod carer Michelle Bible.

The police have been involved.

However, the North Queensland Wildlife Care Inc. and local community have largely conducted their own investigation in the hope of catching the perpetrators.

Local residents and wildlife carers have been collecting video evidence of the offenders who they believe are a group of young men who live in the area.

They have set up a community Facebook page to track and collect evidence of the offenders in the act.

Wildlife Carer Michelle Bible who lives in Oak Valley has played a large role in collecting evidence.

“I have been collecting video footage and the numberplates of their vehicles which I’ve given to the police. Hopefully, they’ll catch whoever is doing this,” she says.

The incidents began last year but have recently escalated after the community became involved in stopping the offenders.

wallabyMichelle has received several death threats but refuses to stop trying to catch the offenders.

“They called me and left some really nasty messages when they realised I wasn’t backing off. I’ve put my life in danger doing this but someone has to do it,” Michelle says.

Police and Townsville RSPCA inspectors are investigating the incident and are treating it as a case of animal cruelty.

They could not, however, release any details on an active investigation due to privacy laws.

Michelle deals with the wounded and dead animals and has found up to six dead wallabies at a time.

“It is horrific for local residents and Michelle who has to go out and pick up all the bodies,” says fellow career Jenny Hayden.

Even if the wallabies are still alive when carers find them, they still need to be put down because of their injuries.

Animals which survive often suffer internal bleeding or shattered bones, and the only option for carers is to euthanize them.

Adult wallabies also die of stress easily which makes their care and rehabilitation impossible for carers.

Wallabies are particularly at risk of being hit by cars this time of year with the drought forcing them into suburban areas in search of food.

Wildlife Carers see a rise in rescue cases between July and August and can perform up to 3-4 rescues a day.