KANGAROOS are being slaughtered by the dozen in gruesome attacks in the grounds of Morisset Hospital.
More than 100 killings have been recorded in the past six months and wildlife rescuers fear the number could be even greater.
Native Animal Trust Fund rescuer David Smith said unidentified offenders had cut heads, arms, legs and testicles off kangaroos, as well as running them down in vehicles.
‘‘It is getting more and more gruesome. They’re taking souvenirs now,’’ Mr Smith said.
‘‘It doesn’t seem to be enough to kill them – they want to inflict severe injury.’’
A Hunter New England Health spokeswoman said planning was ‘‘well under way to restrict access to the Morisset Hospital site overnight’’.
Security gates will be installed on the hospital’s two main access roads.
Mr Smith has the difficult task of rescuing kangaroos that survive the attacks and taking them to his volunteer group’s carers for treatment.
In some cases the RSPCA is called to euthanise the animals.
Lake Macquarie MP and mayor Greg Piper said he would take up the matter with state officials and police.
‘‘We should be looking for evidence and . . . putting out a reward for information leading to a conviction,’’ Cr Piper said.
‘‘A lot of kangaroos have been mercilessly cut down and left to die – delimbed in some cases,’’ Cr Piper said.
‘‘It’s sociopathic behaviour.’’
Cr Piper said he would investigate allegations that Morisset Hospital had been burying the dead kangaroos in a dump.
The health service spokeswoman said dead kangaroos were ‘‘buried in a discreet area, away from patients, staff and visitor areas’’.
Native Animal Trust Fund president Audrey Koosman accused authorities of ‘‘turning a blind eye’’.
‘‘We’ve tried very hard to get the authorities to work with us,’’ Ms Koosman said.
‘‘They say we shouldn’t be worried about them because they’re only grey kangaroos.
‘‘This has to stop, something has to be done, someone has to deal with the cruelty,’’ she said.
Ms Koosman said there was research to show that sadistic people who torture animals ‘‘can end up murdering people’’.
The health service spokeswoman said that hospital staff and clients were distressed at the situation.
Steel gates will be installed near the start of one access road, be locked around dusk and reopen about 6am the following day.
A boom gate will be installed on the other road and allow after-hours security access.