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Magpie survives dart shot through its neck

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

During a gruesome act of animal cruelty, a young Magpie was blasted through the neck with a blow dart in Lurnea, in the south-west of Sydney. While the magpie escaped the predator, the dart remained lodged in its throat for several days before it was captured and underwent surgery.

"This horrific incident of a native animal being harmed as a result of illegal activity is one of many that have occurred in NSW since late February,” says spokesperson for WIRES, Justin McKee.

The dart that pierced from one side of the magpie’s neck to the other, was approximately 15cm in length and would have been propelled from a blowgun or blowpipe. In NSW, a blowgun or blowpipe or any dart capable of being projected from a blow-gun or blow-pipe, is a prohibited weapon.

“WIRES is alarmed to see that a prohibited weapon is being used in an attack on a native animal,” says Justin McKee.

The incident was first reported to WIRES 14 March 2014, after the magpie arrived on the balcony of a resident who lives near its nest. With some persistence and patience, the resident was able to capture the bird and hand it over to the specialist care of WIRES.

“Thanks to the help of local resident Mr Fay, WIRES volunteers were able to get the magpie the medical attention it needed to survive this injury,” says McKee.

“One of the many vets that supports the work WIRES does to help rescue, rehabilitate and release native animals was successful in surgically removing the dart, helping us to nurse the native bird back to good health,” says McKee.

“After several days on antibiotics, and the all clear from the vet, WIRES was able to release the bird back to the wild on the weekend and is pleased to report it is safely nesting with its mother again,” says Mr McKee.

Magpies are protected fauna under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974 and harming them carries a maximum penalty of $11,000 and six months imprisonment.

WIRES has reported the incident and will work with the appropriate authorities to assist any investigation into the matter.

Media Contact: Carla Toyne (02) 8977 3327
Media Email: media@wires.org.au