Wombat stoning: Australian police officer investigated over video

A furry brown wombat stands on dirt Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Wombats are native to Australia and are protected in most states

Video footage of an off-duty police officer stoning a wombat, and possibly killing it, is being investigated, South Australia Police have announced.

The video was posted on Facebook and shows a shirtless man repeatedly throwing rocks at a wombat as it tries to run away.

Encouraged by the person filming, the man hits the wombat in the head several times before it rolls over.

Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said the actions were "totally abhorrent".

He confirmed the man in the video was a police officer in a statement on Wednesday.

"I want to reassure everybody that the actions in the video do not align with the values and behaviours I expect from my employees," he said.

Image copyright Facebook: Wombat Awareness Organization
Image caption The man was smiling and laughing as the wombat tried to run away

The man in the video can be seen laughing and giving a "thumbs up" to the camera as he chases the short-legged marsupial.

The Wombat Awareness Organisation, the group that shared the footage, started a petition calling for further protection of native animals and for "this perpetrator to be prosecuted".

The petition gathered more than 55,000 signatures in 11 hours.

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