A man has been charged with receiving an echidna stolen from the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, a tourist favourite and wildlife icon on Queensland’s Gold Coast.
Echidnas, Australian native animals sometimes known as spiny anteaters, belong to the family Tachyglossidae in the monotreme order of egg-laying mammals.
Piggy the echidna, a four-year-old breeding female, was reported to have been kidnapped by two men from her enclosure at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary on Saturday.
Police said security cameras at Currumbin filmed the men, one of whom was wearing a terrifying skull mask, as they cut through netting to gain access to an enclosure containing several echidnas, ABC News reported.
The echidna raiders failed to remove three of the spiky animals from nesting boxes but succeeded in abducting the fourth, Piggy, an amiable little character who was friendlier and easier to manage.
They took her away to an unknown destination and Currumbin staff worried that they might never see her again.
All ended well, when Piggy was found safe and well two days later, returned and left under a fence at the sanctuary. A wildlife officer said Piggy was basically fine but had been “knocked around a lot and she’s very sore and sorry for herself”.
Currumbin issued the following bulletin yesterday: “Thank you to everyone for your support and well wishes for Piggy’s safe return to us here at Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary, we are very pleased to say that we were reunited with Piggy last night, when our staff located her just outside of our property fence line.
“A little sore and sorry but otherwise okay, Piggy has had a full round of vet checks and has been given the thumbs up, much to the delight of her keepers, our little Piggy is getting very spoiled and some special attention.”
A 24-year-old man has been charged with “receiving tainted property”, the ABC reported, as well as animal cruelty. He was due to appear in Southport Magistrates Court yesterday.
Police are hunting for the two men who stole Piggy.
Written by Peter Needham