Residents of a coastal Australian suburb awoke Sunday to a shocking sight: the bodies of as many as 20 kangaroos killed in what police believe to be a deliberate hit-and-run.

Janine Green, a longtime volunteer with the wildlife rescue group WIRES, told 7 News Australia police knocked on her door around 1 a.m. holding a tiny kangaroo that had been taken from its dead mother’s pouch. The joey was one of the few survivors of the late-night slaughter in Tura Beach, a small community in the southern part of New South Wales.

“Until you see it, you can’t grasp the reality of it,” said Green, who is now caring for three survivors. “People were just horrified, and when we took the bodies away, seeing them on the back of the [utility vehicle] was heartbreaking.”

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Police said in a statement that they are looking for witnesses to the “several acts of animal cruelty,” which they believe unfolded between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

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It was soccer night, and many people were out drinking. In the midst of that revelry came the kangaroo massacre, as someone drove down residential streets and plowed into the animals. The vehicle may have had mounted spotlights, so the ’roos “would have stood there stunned” before being mowed down, Green said.

The kangaroo is Australia’s national animal and appears on its coat of arms. There is a large population in Tura Beach, where Green said they are beloved by locals.

“What fun could there be in this carnage?” she asked. “How could it make a person happy?”

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