ACT News

Vandals hit Parks and Conservation depot to protest kangaroo cull

Animal activists have slashed tyres and broken the windscreens of 10 cars at the Parks and Conservation depot in Farrer in a protest against the ACT government's kangaroo cull.

This latest vandalism comes after 18 sections of wire fencing were cut open at the Jerrabomberra Grassland West Nature Reserve at the weekend.

Parks and Conservation area manager for urban reserves Peter Galvin and some of the smashed windows at the depot.
Parks and Conservation area manager for urban reserves Peter Galvin and some of the smashed windows at the depot. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

It was confirmed last week that two shooters would cull 1606 kangaroos in eight nature reserves across Canberra after an appeal was thrown out by the ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Territory and Municipal Services media manager Geoff Virtue said the vandals had left a note on the window of the Athllon Drive depot calling for an end to the kangaroo cull in Canberra.

Peter Galvin inspects one of the damaged vehicles.
Peter Galvin inspects one of the damaged vehicles. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

''The rangers were met with the vandalism when they arrived this morning so the attack obviously happened at some stage overnight,'' he said.

''A total of 10 cars sustained various levels of damage including slashed tyres and broken windscreens and side windows.''

Mr Virtue said the vandals had gained access to the depot and vehicles by cutting through security fences.

''They also hit the depot itself with some sort of instrument, probably a hammer, causing damage to the building, the front door, and smashing window panes," he said.

Peter Galvin looks at a new Toyota Hilux whose windows were broken and the tyres slashed.
Peter Galvin looks at a new Toyota Hilux whose windows were broken and the tyres slashed. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

An ACT Policing spokesman said the incident had been reported to police about 7.15am on Tuesday and detailed extensive damage to the depot including graffiti.

The vandals drew the anarchy symbol on the side of at least one government vehicle.

Graffiti: An anarchy symbol was painted on at least one of the vehicles.
Graffiti: An anarchy symbol was painted on at least one of the vehicles. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Mr Virtue said police arrived at the depot on Tuesday morning and were to continue their investigations into the vandalism throughout the day.

''This is a step up in the type of vandalism we've seen in recent days,'' he said.

Windows were smashed in the building.
Windows were smashed in the building. Photo: Elesa Kurtz

''It's a pretty upsetting occurrence because it redirects our staff resources to fixing the building rather than looking after our parks.''

Mr Virtue said he did not know who committed the vandalism at the depot but believed it was the work of animal rights activists.

Vandals smash car windows and slash tyres at the Parks and Conservation depot,
Vandals smash car windows and slash tyres at the Parks and Conservation depot, Photo: Elesa Kurtz

Animal Liberation ACT spokeswoman Carolyn Drew declined to condemn the vandalism but said she had no knowledge of the event and maintained the group's adherence to a philosophy of non-violence.

"Obviously a lot of people are upset about this, but I've not heard anything in relation to this from members of Animal Liberation in Canberra," she said. 

''We're asking our members to focus on the goal of going on the reserves and trying to find the shooters and standing between the guns and the kangaroos.

''Even though that is illegal, it's something many are prepared to do.'' 

Ms Drew said people would choose to take action themselves as a form of civil resistance and disobedience and it was an effective way to halt the shooting of kangaroos.

The Civil and Administrative Tribunal rejected Animal Liberation ACT's appeal and found the government's cull had a ''solid scientific basis".

It accepted the government's contention that shooting the kangaroos was necessary to protect other threatened species that rely on the grasslands.

Eight nature reserves will be closed overnight until July 31 for the kangaroo cull. 

They are the Callum Brae off Mugga Lane, Goorooyarroo and adjacent land in Gungahlin, Jerrabomberra Grassland West, Kama near Hawker, Mount Painter near Cook, Mulanggari in Gungahlin, Mulligans Flat in Gungahlin, and the Pinnacle and adjacent land near Hawker.

Most of the reserves will be closed from 3pm until 7am each day. Two sites, Mount Painter and the Pinnacle, will close from 5pm and reopen at 7am.

Despite the closures, a Territory and Municipal Services spokesman could not confirm whether the cull had begun or if any kangaroos had been killed this year. 

Police are encouraging anyone who may have information regarding the vandalism to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.