It’s Now Illegal To Hunt Wombats In Victoria For Fun
Authorities in Victoria have closed a four-decade long loophole that allowed people to hunt wombats for fun. You now have to get a permit to hunt the animal, which was previously listed as a pest under the 1975 Wildlife Act.
As a result of the existing legislation, tour operators were able to sell lavish hunting trips under the guise that it was vermin control and would help the community.
News broke in August last year that tourists were paying up $1,000 a night at a guest ranch, which included the activity of shooting. A website promoting the dude ranch was taken down after news of what went on came to light, according to The New Daily.
The website used to reportedly tell excited tourists: "When we come to Australia, we should experience life that we can't experience in China.The first thing that should be felt in Australia is to be a wilderness hunter in the mountains of Australia.
"With professional guidance, you will be a great shooter!"
But that will now be a thing of the past.
The state's Environment Minister Lily D'Ambrosio said: "Wombats deserve the same protection as other native animals - and that's what this change delivers.
"The previous rules were outdated - wombats deserve the same protection as other native animals - and that's what this change delivers. This change will ensure wombats can't be exploited by an old rule."
People who kill wombats in Victoria without a permit will now attract fines of up to $39,000 or up to two years in jail.
A shocking case of wombat brutality happened late last year when an off-duty cop in South Australia was filmed stoning and eventually killing one.
Police community liaison officer Waylon Johncock was seen in the video footage hopping out of a truck and chasing after the wombat before he starts to throw rocks at it. As the wombat tries to scurry off, he gives chase, eventually killing the animal.
In the background his friend can be heard saying: "Yeah! You did it! First man I've ever seen kill a wombat on foot, bro."
South Australia Police announced that Johncock will not face any criminal charges or disciplinary action over the incident. They added that he will be given 'managerial advice and counselling regarding the implications of social media'.
Commissioner Grant Stevens said he understood that some would question the outcome but urged them to 'respect' it.
Featured Image Credit: PA