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Barbed wire fence proves fatal for flying foxes

INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

THE slow and painful death of protected little red flying foxes, caught in a barbed wire fence at Innes Park, has distressed an Elliott Heads wildlife carer.

Queensland Wildlife Carers and Volunteers Association president Christine Wynne said she was alerted to the flying foxes after her daughter saw a Facebook post about 10.30pm Tuesday.

Ms Wynne said she's disappointed no one contacted her earlier.

Able to save five animals by detangling them from the fence Wednesday morning, Ms Wynne also removed two dead ones and said three more appeared to have struggled off the fence themselves but died on the ground below.

"To hang there for days and just die of dehydration - and it would take a few days - it's just horrific," she said.

"And the pain they would be in, poor little things."

Stuck in the perimeter fence of the Boral Quarry on Back Windermere Rd, Ms Wynne guessed the flying foxes were attracted to water just behind the fence.

"I'd say what happening is these little guys are flying down to get the water and then flying up and getting stuck on the fence," she said.

"It (the fence) seems to be fairly new, its got cyclone wire and then three runs of barbed wire along the top."

Brought to tears by the creatures suffering, Ms Wynne said one of the flying foxes had wire through its mouth.

"It was just horrible. His wing was stuck up around his mouth as well," she said.

"But he's not looking real good so he still might not make it."

INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott

Ms Wynne said little red flying foxes don't live in one area permanently and travel thousands of kilometres looking for native gums and flowers which is why they play an important role in pollinating trees.

A specialist bat and flying fox carer for 15 years, Ms Wynne said barbed wire was a hazard for all sorts of native wildlife including birds and owls, gliders and kangaroos. She urged any resident or business to think about whether they really needed it.

Ms Wynne has approached Boral to ask them to consider removing the barbed wire.

A spokesman for Boral said the company took any incidents involving local fauna at its operations seriously.

"Despite this being a very rare event, Boral is taking immediate actions to minimise the chance of any further occurrences, which includes the installation of bunting/flagging on the fence line," he said.

"Boral has reported the incident to the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (EHP) and has been in ongoing contact with the local wildlife carer who attended the site today (yesterday)."

An EHP spokeswoman confirmed there were no specific guidelines relating to fences and wildlife but landholders were encouraged to be mindful of the impacts fencing can have on native animals and to consider modifications which may reduce the risk of entanglement.

"For example, barbed wire fencing can be made more visible with the use of white or coloured fence tapes which flicker in the breeze. This also creates a noise as an additional warning to wildlife," she said.

Ms Wynne also urged anyone who saw a sick or injured native animal, especially a flying fox or bat, to call her immediately on 4159 6431.

INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
INJURED BATS: Wildlife carer Christine Wynne with one of the bats rescued from the fence at the Innes Park Quarry Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott


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