PARKS Victoria has prosecuted four men for shooting 23 kangaroos at Wyperfeld National Park.
Two of the men, of the Geelong suburb of Belmont, pleaded guilty in the Mildura Magistrates’ Court at a hearing in April.
They were facing charges of aggravated cruelty, hunting protected wildlife, and wilfully injuring protected wildlife.
The charges came after incidents in the national park in March 2015.
The two men were convicted and sentenced to pay fines of $6000 each, plus departmental costs.
The other two men, of Woomelang and Warracknabeal, pleaded guilty in the Ouyen Magistrates’ Court in August 2016 on charges of hunting protected wildlife and possessing and using a gun in a national park.
The men were sentenced to an undertaking to be of good behaviour for a period of 12 months, with the condition that they each pay $3000 to the RSPCA.
The court also forfeited their firearms.
Parks Victoria regional director for northern Victoria, Craig Stubbings, said all native animals were protected under the law.
Mr Stubbings said the men’s actions were not only illegal, but completely unacceptable.
“Parks are a place for visitors to enjoy the natural environment,” Mr Stubbings said.
“Parks Victoria and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will prosecute anyone who illegally hunts animals in parks.
“Illegal hunting harms wildlife and can also put other visitors at risk.”
Mr Stubbings vowed that those doing the wrong thing would be caught and would face the consequences.
“Our rangers and enforcement staff conduct regular patrols and have powers to search vehicles and seize property as evidence,” he said.
“It is an offence under the National Parks Act 1975 to bring a firearm into a park without authority.
“Penalties for illegal hunting and cruelty to animals include hefty fines and even jail sentences.”