Teens are accused of slaughtering 14 kangaroos in a shocking act of animal cruelty.
Two teens have been charged for killing more than a dozen kangaroos over the weekend in New South Wales, Australia, according to police.
According to CNN, two unknown 17-year-old lads were arrested Monday in the coastal NSW town of Batemans Bay for “apparently maliciously killing 14 kangaroos,” according to a statement from NSW police.
Police were dispatched to the Long Beach neighborhood about 7 a.m. local time Saturday after reports of multiple kangaroos being killed, according to police. Five dead adult kangaroos and one dead joey (baby kangaroo) were discovered in the vicinity by officers from the South Coast Police District.
Another seven dead kangaroos and one dead joey were were discovered in the Maloneys Beach vicinity, according to police. A single injured joey was also discovered and placed into the care of the NSW Wildlife Information Rescue and Education Service (WIRES).
According to the BBC, the kangaroo packs were struck by a car.
According to a statement from NSW police, the young suspects were arrested Monday evening after an investigation and a public plea for information.
The motivation for the suspected killings has not been revealed by the authorities.
The two teenagers were accused on Tuesday with murdering and abusing an animal. They were given a Court Attendance Notice and will appear in a children’s court on Nov. 22, according to police.
Anyone convicted of animal cruelty in New South Wales risks up to five years in prison and a fine of AUD$22,000 ($16,150).
According to the BBC, WIRES, Australia’s largest wildlife rescue and rehabilitation charity, said it was outraged by the killings in a statement.
The organization was cited as saying, “This has left an everlasting impression on our loyal volunteers and local communities.”
Despite being one of Australia’s cultural icons, kangaroos are killed by people who want to eat their flesh or by farmers who want to graze cattle and sheep in the area where they are found, according to PETA.
According to data published by Animals Australia, almost 1.34 million kangaroos were killed for the commercial market in 2016.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, a U.K.-based nonprofit that promotes animal welfare, is said to investigate around 50,000 animal cruelty allegations in Australia each year.