NATIVE animals have been slaughtered in and around the Stanley State Forest.
Among them was a female kangaroo that had been shot and its head cut off. It had a dead joey in its pouch.
Wildlife volunteers say they dread holidays because they inevitably attract reckless shooters no one can stop.
When volunteers have quizzed shooters over the years, the excuse is always same — they say they are shooting targets, or hunting rabbits or foxes.
Stanley residents Rob Jones and Ron Elliot, the husband of a wildlife shelter operator, Glenda, confronted five men they found spotlighting near Elbow Camp Road.
The Sydney men said they were shooting rabbits and foxes.
But Mr Jones said that the next day — New Year’s Eve — he had found dead natives animals in the area including the decapitated kangaroo with her dead joey. Another dead kangaroo had had its ears cut off.
“I suggest it was a trophy kill,” Mr Jones said.
A couple of days later, Glenda, who runs Yackandandah’s Kangaloola wildlife shelter, found 14 kangaroos, a couple of wallabies and a wombat shot dead on Hillsborough Road, between Stanley and Yackandandah.
A Department of Sustainability and Environment spokesman yesterday said the department was keen to establish how the animals had died.
Native wildlife is protected under state law and illegal hunters can be prosecuted.
But Mrs Elliot said it was unlikely anyone would be prosecuted because it was hard to gather sufficient evidence.
“They’re shooting because they can,” she said.
“No one can stop them and they know it.”
Mrs Elliot nurtures joeys only to find later hunters have killed them.
She found a “beautiful” big male called Arnold Schwarzenegger, she had raised, shot dead not far from her shelter.
She said it might take the death of a human for authorities to do more to protect the animals.