When wildlife rescuer Sally Arnold discovered over 150 dead wombats near Sandleton, just outside of Sedan, the Cambrai resident was appalled at what she saw.
The Wildwood Park Santuary owner said in her 40 years as a wildlife carer she had never seen such massive slaughter.
Ms Arnold came across the scene after she was notified by her friend, Bob Cleaver from Wombat Rise Sanctuary, who informed her of the alleged mass cull.
“I understand the process of culling and the implications that wombats can present to landholders,” she said.
“Farmers have rights, but animals have their rights too and that’s why the Department of Environment and Water have strict guidelines for the destruction of animals.”
Cambrai farmer Rose Laucke explained a shooting permit for her property enabled a specified number of people to enter her property to shoot animals for the purposes of harvest or culling, but only if the presence of animals impedes on their business.
“This year has been one of the only years where people have had to shoot animals for the purposes of culling because it just got so bade. We lost about $10,000 on our lucerne.
“While wombats haven’t been an issue for us at our property we do have a permit for kangaroos and emus, with a number allocated and a list of people who can enter the property for purposes of shooting.
“We have very clear guidelines for them to follow and must be compliant with DEW’s code of practice.
“If someone were to come across wombats on our property they wouldn’t be able to shoot them as we don’t have a permit for their destruction.
“If animals are taken from the property they must be tagged, if they leave the property, say if people take the animals for meat.
A spokesperson from the Department of Environment and Water told The Standard they were aware of the incident where a number of wombats have been killed near Sandleton in the past couple of weeks.
“Investigations into the circumstances under which the wombats were destroyed is continuing,” they said.
“The department takes any matter involving the failure to humanely destroy an animal under a permit very seriously as it may be in breach of the Animal Welfare Act 1985,” they said.
“We encourage a ‘living with wildlife’ approach in circumstances where native species cause landscape damage or create conflict for primary producers.
“The destruction of animals using a permit can be considered if other option to limit damage by wildlife have not been successful.”