By Jack Waters
IT is hoped a new partnership between Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors and Crime Stoppers Queensland will reduce wildlife crimes across the state.
Wildlife Warriors founder Terri Irwin made the partnership announcement alongside her son Robert and Crime Stoppers Queensland CEO Carmen Jenkinson at Australia Zoo on September 14.
The zoo will offer $1,000 to anyone who comes forward with information that leads to a prosecution for a wildlife crime anywhere across Queensland.
The announcement comes after Robert Irwin and his team made a harrowing discovery on the Wenlock River during their annual crocodile research work at the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve in the Cape York Peninsula.
“We saw a dead croc floating down the river which was incredibly sad to see but what made it more devastating was when we actually examined it and found a very clear gunshot straight through its head,” Robert said.
“For us, as wildlife conservationists, it’s just heartbreaking to see something like this.
“That was really the spark for us. We wanted to do something not only for [the crocodile] but the many animals every year that unfortunately suffer,” he said.
Terri Irwin said the Australia Zoo Wildlife Hospital continued to see an increase in wildlife crime.
“Here at our wildlife hospital we are seeing animals that have been hit by crossbows, shot or attacked,” she said.
“We just had a scrub turkey come in recently. Someone had broken its leg and spray painted it pink.
“We want to stop this and we want to see our wildlife treated with respect,” Terri said.
It’s this very reason why Terri was so excited to announce a formal partnership with Crime Stoppers Queensland.
Carmen from Crime Stoppers said wildlife crime was often overlooked, so much so that since the beginning of the year there had been only 61 reports of animal and environmental crime in Queensland.
“At Crime Stoppers we’re not hearing a lot about wildlife crime so that’s part of the impetus to announce this partnership today,” Carmen said.
“We’re asking people to identify that this is something that ought to be reported, that Queensland’s environment is worth protecting.”
GC&M News was the first to report the new partnership on our Facebook page when it was announced.
At the time of going to print, the post had reached more than 972,920 people and had been shared by more than 5,300 people.
The news received an outpouring of support from locals and people across the country who commended both Australia Zoo and Crime Stoppers for the initiative.
To report a wildlife crime contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au
All reports made will be anonymous and anyone who provides information that leads to prosecution will be able to collect the reward anonymously.
Main image: Crime Stoppers Queensland CEO Carmen Jenkinson with Terri and Robert Irwin