Recreational hunting in national parks under fire after joey shot by stray arrow

THE government's decision to allow hunting of feral animals in national parks has raised concerns that native animals will be caught in the crossfire.

Chris McGregor, a wildlife carer from Colo Heights, found a wallaby shot with an arrow late last month on her property, which is next to a state forest.

She is nursing the wallaby back to health after removing the arrow and says she is hopeful of him making a complete recovery.

''In the last few weeks the state forest opposite our property has been opened up for bow hunters to hunt feral animals,'' she said.

Ms McGregor said the joey's mother had been distressed and had been ''calling for him'' while he was being treated for his wounds. ''It took us two nights to catch the wallaby and [we] finally caught him with a net at 3am in the morning when he came to feed,'' she said.

''Infection is still a major problem and both legs are affected. The other leg without the arrow has had bone fragments removed from the wound, possibly, from frantic struggling.

''The NSW government wants to open up national parks for hunting, what chance do our native animals have?''

The opposition spokesman for the environment, Luke Foley, said the O'Farrell government's decision to open up national parks to amateur hunters had put the safety of native animals and humans at risk.

''We have lost all sense of balance when it comes to the regulation of hunting in NSW,'' he said.

''The photos of the joey are distressing. Unfortunately an irresponsible minority think it's open season under Mr O'Farrell's government.

''Rogue elements are getting a message they can do whatever they like.''

In response to questions from the Greens, the NSW Game Council has confirmed it employs four full-time staff to monitor hunting in more than 1.75 million hectares of state forests.

The Greens MP and forestry spokesman, David Shoebridge, said over the past decade more than 1.75 million hectares of public forests have been opened up for amateur hunting, but fewer than five people were being employed to ensure that hunting was safe.

"If it wasn't a real public safety issue, it would be laughable that the Game Council has less than five full-time positions to keep an eye on more than 15,000 licensed hunters in 1.75 million hectares of State Forests,'' he said.

"On these figures each inspector is responsible for more than 400,000 hectares of State Forest.

"This is an impossible task for hunting inspectors and means that, in truth, there is no one out there watching the hunters that roam our state forests.''

A spokesman for the Environment Minister, Robyn Parker, said it was investigating the joey shooting incident and could not comment further until the outcome of the inquiry was known.

The story Recreational hunting in national parks under fire after joey shot by stray arrow first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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