Northern Territory Police are investigating a spate of cattle and buffalo killings on properties along the Arnhem Highway, south-east of Darwin.
WARNING: This story contains details and images that readers may find distressing.
The NT Cattlemen’s Association (NTCA) said three brahman cattle and two buffalo were targeted with a similar weapon in the past few weeks, prompting it to renew calls for a dedicated stock squad to be established within the NT Police.
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.
NT Police Deputy Commissioner Murray Smalpage said the incidents at Annaburroo were under investigation.
Breeding herd buffalo shot
Two buffalo at the Beatrice Hill Research Station, 65km south-east of Darwin on Arnhem Highway, were shot with a similar weapon between Christmas and the end of last year, according to the NT Buffalo Industry Council.
Chief executive Louise Bilato said the buffalo 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.”
NTCA acting chief executive Romy Carey said incidents such as these were callous and cruel but not uncommon.
“It’s really heartbreaking,” she said.
The NTCA receives up to 10 reports of stock theft or unlawful slaughter a week, according to Mrs Carey.
“The NTCA is continuing to call for an NT stock squad dedicated to dealing with crimes like these,” she said.
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.