Over the past 12 months, there has been an increase in the amount of poaching seen and reported by station owners. The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) is receiving, on average ten calls per week relating to theft or unlawful kills.
NTCA acting chief executive Romy Carey said incidents such as these were callous and cruel but not uncommon.
“It’s really heartbreaking,” she said.
“Pastoralists put their heart and soul into these animals.”
Mrs Carey said many crimes of this type were left unsolved because of the lengthy travel and lack of specialised skills
required to investigate stock-related matters.
The ABC reported the latest spate of kills were using compound bows. This saw four buffalo killed two of which were breeding bulls and three Brahman cattle.
“Police confirmed two cattle were shot with arrows on Annaburroo Station, about 120 kilometres south-east of Darwin, on separate occasions this month”.
Station manager Adrian Phillips said a bull, worth $6,000, was targeted on the roadside on January 2.
“All of my family know this bull very well — my daughter calls him ‘Dopey,'” he said.
“He can walk up to you and lick you in the paddock, he is that quiet.”
Mr Phillips said the bull seemed to have been shot in the lung and had probably died a slow and painful death.
He said one of the station’s heifers, worth about $1,200, was also shot with arrows on January 16.
The culprits beheaded and partially butchered the animal.
“I am pretty passionate about this job, I do it 365 days of the year,” Mr Phillips said.
“I generally just deal with the issues myself, but this one is a really bad one.”
Chief executive Louise Bilato said the buffalo that were killed were part of a valuable breeding program at the research facility.
“They’re 100 per cent riverine buffalo, so when they’re sold to dairy farms around Australia they can fetch [up to] $3,500,” she said.
“The purpose of that riverine herd at the research station is very much for future research, and their genetics have been developed for an extended period of time.
“So it is very distressing for us to hear about those animals being killed.”