The police charged two teenagers, one a minor, for allegedly capturing and killing nine little penguins on Tasmania’s coast.
The police refused to elaborate how the little penguins were killed by the 18-year-old and 15-year-old male teenagers last month, The Guardian reported. The police claims that the teenagers violated the Animal Welfare Act for killing the penguins, a declared protected species at Sulphur Creek.
Sulphur Creek Coastcare Group President Frank Wilson said the penguins might have been shot with a bow and arrow. “My wife did find some arrows along the side of the road but I haven’t heard back from Parks and Wildlife,” Wilson told The Guardian Australia.
ABC News reported that the penguin deaths gave rise to a joint investigation involving police, Wildlife Rangers, and the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). Sergeant Kym Turale said it was a “disturbing act.”
“It concerns us, it concerns wildlife rangers, and the public are very unimpressed by this sort of behaviour as well,” Sergeant Turale added. The charges were filed by the police after some witnesses attested to the slaughter. “A guy camping near the boat ramp witnessed it and there was evidence given by a number of residents in that area,” Wilson affirmed. The accused teenagers will face the court in the coming weeks.
Last year, around 20 penguins also died at Sulphur Creek. The police suspected that the penguins were attacked by dogs. The investigation on this matter is still undergoing, and the case has not been resolved yet.
Little Penguins, Protected Species
According to the Penguin Foundation, there are only 17 species of penguins around the world. All of them are found in the countries near the southern hemisphere such as New Zealand, sub-Antarctic islands, South America, Africa, and Australia. The little penguins, however, are endemic. “Little penguins are only found in southern Australia and New Zealand,” the organization said.
Australia values penguins as they are also one of the country’s tourist attractions.