Multi-millionaire Sydney car salesman Tony Azzi is under investigation for allegedly killing wombats and other native fauna on his New South Wales property.
According to Fairfax, the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) recently received a referral from the NSW police, who received a tip-off from a disgruntled former colleague of Mr Azzi’s.
Ex-sales manager Nick Karagiannis told the NPWS he had witnessed Mr Azzi killing a number of species on his farm over four years, including wombats, kangaroos, ducks and goats.
A protected species, it is illegal to kill wombats under Australian law.
Multiple images showed Mr Azzi posing with dead wombats, including one in which a wombat was bleeding from a gunshot wound to the stomach.
The owner of Larke Hoskins car dealerships and a $14 million waterfront property in Elizabeth Bay, Mr Azzi he had never killed for sport, and had spotted the “paralysed” creature by the side of the road, assuming it had been hit by a car.
“I realised he was in pain with no chance to survive, so I did the human [sic] thing anyone could do to an injured wildlife and put a 308 bullet in his head. Lighting [sic] death a lot better than the foxes eating him alive,” he said.
Mr Azzi told Fairfax he was a licensed firearm owner with two guns stored in safe on his property.
“I do not shoot animals for fun and when killing them it will be done in a very human [sic] manner. I am an excellent marksman,” he said.
Illegal under Australian law, killing a wombat carries a possible 6-month jail term and $11,000 fine.
Further $1100 fines are applicable for each separate offence.
Mr Azzi’s former associate, who also features in the images holding a gun, told Fairfax he had never shot a firearm on the property.