A speeding driver who ploughed into nearly a dozen protected birds at a Queensland beach in what authorities believe was a deliberate rampage remains on the run.
Now the Queensland Department of Environment and Science (DES) is urging the public for help.
Eleven crested terns were found dead by rangers along Ocean Beach at Bribie Island, off the coast of Brisbane, earlier in the month.
DES compliance officer Mike Devery described the carnage as a deliberate attack.
“Rangers believe the birds were deliberately targeted by a person who was speeding in a four-wheel-drive, and basically lined them up and mowed them down,” he said.
“Unfortunately the two injured birds had to be humanely euthanised, and the department is appealing for public help to identify the person responsible.”
He said the department is looking to speak with anyone who saw a vehicle leaving the beach, or in the vicinity of the island, on May 5 which may have had white or black feathers stuck in the grill or bonnet.
Under the Nature Conservation Act 1992 anyone found guilty of deliberately harming or killing this certain number of crested terns could be slapped with a “significant fine” or even time behind bars.
Mr Devery said crested terns were found in coastal areas of Australia, and a substantial population of them lived on Bribie Island.
“People are advised to stay away from all wildlife on our beaches, and rangers conduct daily compliance and education patrols of the Bribie Island Recreation Area,” he said.
“Speed limits apply on all Queensland beaches, and I remind people that they need a Vehicle Access Permit to drive on Bribie Island’s beaches.
“Driving on Bribie Island’s beaches is a popular recreational activity, and to protect the beach’s social amenity and natural values, all road rules and other driving restrictions apply.”
Those caught on vegetated dunes and disturbing shore birds and other species, such as turtles, risk an on-the-spot fine of $266.