A 19-year-old man has been arrested and charged in connection with the deaths of about 20 kangaroos that were hit and killed by a vehicle in Australia over the weekend, authorities said.
The kangaroos – including baby joeys – were killed late Saturday local time in rural Tura Beach, on the state’s south coast, New South Wales police said in a statement
Many of the animals were found on the front lawns of residents’ homes the next morning, according to CNN affiliate 7 News.
Police said Tuesday that a teenage suspect had been arrested in connection with the killings. The individual, who was not named, was charged with torture and causing the death of an animal. He has since been granted bail.
“We take incidents such as these very seriously and anyone who engages in activities such as these will face the full brunt of the law,” Chief Inspector Peter Volf said in a statement.
Janine Green, a volunteer with the wildlife rescue group WIRES, told CNN on Monday that she had never seen anything like the carnage in 20 years. She said three surviving joeys remained in her organization’s care.
“Residents on the streets were just stunned, because they woke up on Sunday morning to find dead (kangaroo) bodies strewn all over their lawns,” Green said.
Kangaroos are indigenous to Australia and have become a symbol of the country, adopted as mascots by businesses and sporting teams.
According to a 2016 report, there are more than 44 million of the marsupials in the country, almost double the number of humans that live in Australia.
In August, dozens of wallabies were found dead in Queensland, in northern Australia, in what was believed to be a mass poisoning.
“They died a really sudden death, and it was horrible, painful,” said Shai Ager, a local conservationist, who had been with several of the wallabies as they died.