A group of animal activists claims to have uncovered evidence of kangaroos being killed inhumanely after they entered a local nature reserve late on Saturday night and dug up the carcasses of several animals buried there as part of the government's controlled cull.
But the ACT government condemned their actions as illegal and potentially dangerous, and defended the use of firearms to control Canberra's kangaroo population.
Animal Liberation ACT spokesperson Carolyn Drew said a group of about six activists, who were affiliated to but not members of her group, had entered Kama Nature Reserve near Bruce at midnight on Saturday night and spent four hours digging in the burial pit. She said they found kangaroos with bullet wounds to their bodies, contrary to government policy, which states that the animals must be shot in the head.
''One female kangaroo had her head crushed, and that's against the rules in the ACT,'' she said.
Ms Drew said she would not reveal the identity of the activists as they had been trespassing when they entered the site.
TAMS Parks and Conservation director Daniel Iglesias said the government employed highly skilled marksmen who were able to hit their targets. ''[We have] proficiency testing that shows them time, and time, and time again able to achieve accurate head shots,'' he said.
Photographs forwarded to The Canberra Times show the body of a half-grown kangaroo with its head partially removed, and two decapitated hairless joeys, but did not clearly show bullet wounds to the animals' bodies.
Mr Iglesias said the RSPCA approved of using firearms to prevent the over population of kangaroos, and the cull had been monitored by veterinarians.
But Ms Drew said Animal Liberation ACT were opposed to the kangaroo shooting, claiming the measures were unnecessary.
''There's no real science for it, kangaroos are capable of regulating their own numbers,'' she said.
The ACT government has closed Kama Nature Reserve for culling until 6pm on June 12, along with Callum Brae Nature Reserve, Crace Nature Reserve, Goorooyaroo Nature Reserve, Jerrabomberra West Nature Reserve, Mount Painter Nature Reserve, Mulligans Flat Nature Reserve, the Pinnacle Nature Reserve and Wanniassa Hills Nature Reserve.
Ms Drew said activists planned to spend last night attempting to disrupt cull attempts.
By Larissa Nicholson, Canberra Times