HAMILTON police are investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of an emu in the Hamilton Botanic Gardens overnight Tuesday.
A Victoria Police media liaison spokeswoman said the emu was believed to have been killed between 3.30pm Tuesday and 8.15am Wednesday.
“It appears the emu was struck with a single shot from a slug gun. Investigations are continuing and no arrests have been made,” she said.
Any witnesses who saw anyone near the botanic gardens overnight Tuesday or who has information about the death of the emu is requested to contact the Hamilton police station or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
A Southern Grampians Shire spokesman said there have been emus living in an enclosure in the gardens for more than 50 years and they were a great attraction.
“It’s a horrible loss,” he said.
“It’s a horrible thing (someone has done). It’s disgusting.
“There was an incident a couple of years ago where an emu was speared and it created a lot of outrage.
“This has been very much the same — it’s a very disgusting act.”
The emu was the only one living in the gardens, although there have been multiple emus in the enclosure in the past.
The council is yet to discuss whether the emu will be replaced.
Meanwhile, motorists have been advised to be weary of free-roaming emus near Tower Hill after at least five were spotted outside the wildlife park this week. Some drivers blamed broken fencing at the park for an emu’s death on Monday, 500 metres west of the park boundary on Koroit-Port Fairy Road.
But Parks Victoria said the public was responsible for the animals’ safety once they left Tower Hill.
A local resident, who did not want to be named, said while one emu had been killed on Monday, at least four more had escaped the game reserve.
She said the fence needed to be repaired, especially where Scenic Drive met the Koroit-Port Fairy Road.
“There are some parts where the fence is completely on the ground,” she said.
“Emus are out all the time along that stretch of road.
“If wallabies and roos really want to get out they will, but an emu won’t.”
Another nearby resident told The Standard there had been emus wondering the roadside for the past couple of months.
“It was just a matter of time before one ran out in front of a vehicle,” he said.
“I live next to Tower Hill and have emus at the back fence all the time, but because we maintain the fence at waist height they can’t come in.
“There is a section at Killarney Road that is not maintained and that’s where I believe they’re coming from.
“I can’t remember emus being any problem until more recently.”
Parks Victoria ranger-in-charge Ben Hammond said Tower Hill was not a zoo and emus and wildlife in Victoria