Sickening footage showing a defenceless wombat being stoned to death by an off-duty police officer has sparked outrage in Australia.
Disturbing video – taken in south Australia’s Eyre Peninsula – shows the man, named as Waylon Johncock, pursuing the animal and giving the camera a thumbs-up, before hurling huge rocks at its head.
Egged on by a friend, who was following him in a car and at one stage can be heard yelling “kill him!”, the police officer then continues to chase the wombat along a dirt road.
His friend then accelerates to keep the animal in his headlights, before Mr Johncock lands the final blow – causing the dazed wombat to writhe around in agony.
Mr Johncock then celebrates by triumphantly raising his arms and smiling at the camera.
“First bloke I’ve ever seen kill a wombat on foot, bro,” his friend is then heard saying.
The footage sparked outrage from local rescue group Wombat Awareness Organisation, which put the video on social media with the caption: “Healthy wombat stoned to death by off duty police officer.
“I am tired of reporting such cruelty for it to be ignored. If this gets your support, something may be done.
“Please share, this is not entertainment. This has to stop!”
Brigitte Stevens, from the organisation, told local media that the wombat was left to suffer before dying, adding that sort of callous behaviour is not uncommon.
South Australian Police confirmed the man has been identified as a member of the force, adding the behaviour displayed does not align with its values and he has launched an investigation.
“At this time SAPOL can confirm they are taking the situation very seriously and are closely examining the video,” a SA Police spokesman said.
“An inquiry is being undertaken into this matter to first formally identify the man; and then take appropriate action as required.”