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HomeNewsAnimal cruelty case: water dragons shot with darts, investigation continues

Animal cruelty case: water dragons shot with darts, investigation continues

UPDATED 18 FEBRUARY:  Two water dragons captured by local wildlife rescue teams following a callous dart shooting spree on Australia Day have been nursed back to health and returned to their habitat.

At least half a dozen water dragons, and possibly also birds, were shot with darts on the Northern Beaches, in an horrific discovery in Warriewood on 26 January, 2022.

The clear case of cruelty was called into the Sydney Wildlife; the offences all occurred within the Shearwater Estate in Warriewood.

A water dragon shot in the shoulder with a dart.

Sydney Wildlife’s Jacqui Marlow and Bec Woods investigated and Bec told Manly Observer at the time:

“When we arrived at the scene, we saw four dragons, some with multiple darts shot through various parts of their bodies as well as darts scattered through the bush.

“We were successful in catching one dragon, who had a dart shot through his shoulder.”

The following day, Collaroy Vet was advised of a second water dragon with similar injuries. The vet removed a fully inserted dart from the middle of his shoulders – luckily it had missed his spine and brain. He too was released after time in care with one of Sydney Wildlife members and a check-up by our volunteer vets.

One of the water dragons nursed back to health. Photo: Bec Woods
Sydney Wildlife reports: “Our volunteers and concerned locals continued to do daily searches of the area and on 28 January spotted another dragon with a blue nail dart in its tail. They didn’t manage to catch him – unfortunately Water Dragons are very quick and despite injury, can still swim and climb trees.”
The search for injured Water Dragons, Sydney Wildlife on the scene: Photo: Margaret Woods
“This incident of cruelty was reported to the RSPCA and the NSW Police who attended immediately. The darts gathered in the area plus those removed from the injured Water Dragons were handed over to the police for DNA testing, and they hope to identify the culprits.  We would like to see the dart guns used in these cowardly attacks banned.”

The DNA may be too compromised to provide Police with reliable information, so it is particularly important than anyone with information comes forward to police. If you have any information that would assist their investigations, please contact Dee Why Police on (02) 9971 3399 or Crime Stoppers 1800 333 000.

Darts collected  in the bush around Warriewood.
Final haul. Images from Sydney wildlife show their dart collection found in the Estate.

Police ask for the community to keep an eye out and report any suspicious behaviour, 9971 3399. If you spot a water dragon injured with a dart immediately call Sydney Wildlife on 9413 4300.

Alternatively, contact WIRES who have also been made aware of the case and have flagged it as an animal cruelty case.

There are reports of birds injured with the darts but these have not yet been re-located.

Water dragons are Australia’s largest dragon lizard. They are a protected animal native to this area.

A few dozen loose darts were also found in the bush yesterday and some were homemade using nails and silicon.

We will update this article as the investigation continues today.

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