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Brumbies shot dead in Newnes State Forest

Six wild brumbies have been found shot dead in a state forest near Lithgow, within a week of the NSW government reopening forests to hunting.

Police are investigating the illegal killings at Newnes State Forest near Lithgow and said the fatal shots appeared to have been the work of an experienced marksman.

The bodies of four stallions and two mares were found on Sunday afternoon. Hunting in about 200 state forests - including Newnes - was allowed to resume on February 3 after a six-month hiatus.

Inspector Gerry Cahill, from Lithgow police, said investigators believed a high-calibre rifle was used.

Police would question people who had been permitted to hunt in the forest at the weekend, he said.

Illegal hunting on private property can attract a $1100 fine or up to 12 months in jail.

Brumbies are not an approved game animal and the Department of Primary Industries, which has overseen registered hunters since the abolition of the Game Council of NSW last year after a damning report into its management, is assisting the police investigation.

The Greens said the state government had to shoulder some of the responsibility for the horses’ deaths.

"It’s only a matter of weeks since the government opened state forests for hunting and we’ve already seen this disturbing case of brutality and lawlessness,’’ Greens spokesman for hunting and firearms David Shoebridge said.

"The government has spent the last month actively promoting the reopening of state forests and this is the result.’’ 

New safety protocols accompany the reopening of state forests to amateur hunters.

Hunters must now carry a GPS-enabled device containing official hunting and exclusion map data and complete online training in navigation and hunting rules.

with AAP


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