DISPUTE OVER WALLABIES
RACING Queensland has denied sensational allegations by the RSPCA that it was responsible for the deaths of wallabies at Mareeba racetrack last year.
A state government investigation found dogs were the likely cuplrits when in October up to 50 wallabies were found dead on the Mareeba Turf Club grounds.
An RSPCA spokesman said it too had investigated the matter thoroughly but was unable to find a person of interest.
“We also spoke to the Department of Environment and Science (DES) about it,” he said.
“Sadly Racing Queensland then contracted people to cull wallabies as it said they were causing safety concerns.
“We would still be interested to speak with anyone that may be able to identify the offenders.
“We would also like to send a clear message to the community that native animals are not exempt from the Animal Care and Protection Act and that there are other legal obligations with respect to appropriate handling of native animals.”
A Racing Queensland spokesman said the body did not cull any wallabies or apply for a permit.
“Racing Queensland takes the welfare of animals seriously,” the spokesman said.
“Racing Queensland did not apply to the department for a Damage Mitigation Permit (DMP).
“Racing Queensland has been informed that an investigation by the Department of Environment and Science was closed after they found no evidence to suggest any illegal activity around the discovery of deceased wallabies.”
A Department of Environment and Science spokeswoman said their findings about the possible cause of mass wallaby deaths at the Mareeba Racecourse in October 2017 were that the wallabies were most likely killed by wild or uncontrolled domestic dogs.
“The findings were based on photos of dead wallabies with injuries consistent with a dog attack, video footage of multiple dogs moving around the area, a photo of two dogs fighting over a wallaby taken around that time, and a review of the veterinary report,” the spokeswoman said.
“The veterinary report referred to one wound looking like it may have been made by an arrow, but it did not conclude that an arrow had been used to kill the wallaby.
“After reviewing this evidence, DES closed its investigation as wildlife officers found no evidence to suggest any breach of the Nature Conservation Act 1992 had occurred.
“DES has not received any recent reports of wallabies or kangaroos having been killed in Mareeba.”
The DES spokeswoman said wallabies are protected wildlife and it is an offence to kill or harm them without a permit under Queensland’s nature conservation laws.
“DES has not received a DMP application from Racing Queensland to remove or cull any wildlife in the Mareeba Turf Club area,” the spokeswoman said.
Members of the public are urged to report any suspected offences against native wildlife to DES by calling 1300 130 372.
Individual landholders are able to apply to DES for a Damage Mitigation Permit (DMP) for lethal or nonlethal removal of problem animals on their property.