Chinese student, 24, who threw an echidna off a bridge before stoning it to death is SPARED jail, avoids a conviction and won’t be deported despite admitting horrific cruelty
- Student Zhenbo Gao, 24, inflicted a painful death on an echidna in Brisbane
- Chinese man dropped the animal from a height and threw rocks at it
- Gao was caught by campus security guards at Griffith University
- Court heard he liked chasing koalas, capturing lizards and petting possums
- Gao pleaded guilty but avoided conviction and will carry out community service
A Chinese university student who hurled an echidna from a Brisbane bridge to test its survival has been barred from owning animals and ordered to do community service.
Zhenbo Gao, 24, admitted to stalking Australia’s native wildlife, petting possums and chasing koalas before throwing the echidna to its death at Griffith University’s Nathan campus in May 2018.
He was hunting lizards when he came across the adult echidna hiding in a bush, Holland Park Magistrates Court was told on Wednesday.
Zhenbo Gao, 24, will face sentencing for killing an echidna by dropping and throwing rocks at it on a Brisbane university campus
Gao was caught by campus security guards flipping over the lifeless echidna about 10.30pm, according to a statement of facts.
Gao picked it up before dropping the struggling mammal.
He picked it up a second time and tossed it from a two-storey bridge to see if it would survive.
The injured echidna tried to escape by balling up under a ramp and burying itself in the dirt.
But Gao threw football-sized rocks at it and used a stick to move it into the open before it died.
An autopsy report revealed the ‘terrified’ animal suffered significant pain and died from blunt force trauma.
Gao told RSPCA inspectors he had never seen an echidna before, he was ‘curious’ and threw the animal from height to see if it could handle the fall.
Gao (left) told RSPCA investigators he was curious about the echidna when he came across it and wanted to take it home
He claimed he never intended to kill the animal, but wanted to take it home and study it.
Defence lawyers told the court the event planning student was ‘deeply remorseful’ and had brought great shame to his family.
His mother travelled from China to support her son in court.
Gao pleaded guilty to animal cruelty.
Acting Magistrate Robert Turra did not record a conviction, but ordered him to serve 18 months probation, and carry out 180 hours of community service.
‘I consider this defendant to be particularly naive … with little life experience,’ he said.
Gao has been banned from keeping an animal for five years and ordered to pay restitution to the RSPCA.
RSPCA spokeswoman Tracey Jackson said the organisation was disappointed Gao had avoided spending time in prison.
‘Sometimes we question what exactly you have to do to an animal to end up in jail,’ she said.
‘This was a defenceless animal. There was no explanation for what was done to the animal except sheer curiosity, and quite frankly that is alarming.’
A Chinese student will face sentencing for killing an echidna by dropping and throwing rocks at it on a Brisbane university campus