Death sentence for flying foxes

THE number of flying foxes and birds being injured and killed by “cheap” fruit tree netting is steadily rising, according to wildlife carers in the region.

Elliott Heads carer Christine Wynne said the animals received “horrific injuries” when they became tangled in cheap, mono-filament, dark netting draped over the trees.

“These animals don’t see the nets until it’s too late,” she said.

“It’s a horrible way to go — hanging in the sun with cuts and broken bones, slowly dying. The more they struggle, the tighter it (the netting) gets.”

Mrs Wynne said there was an easy way to avoid the problem.

“If people just buy white or beige, better-quality woven netting for a framed canopy, the animals would be able to see it and wouldn’t land there,” she said.

The carer said the problem was mainly caused by back yard growers who only had a few trees, rather than farmers with large crops.

“They just throw this netting over the trees with no framework, which doesn’t work anyway because other animals like possums just climb up the tree from the bottom,” Mrs Wynne said.

She said many people were not aware of the suffering they caused the animals that became trapped in netting.

“I rescue around 20 flying foxes each year and not even half of them live,” she said

“If they do live, they take months to heal. If they are mothers, their babies are left to slowly starve to death.”

Mrs Wynne is pleading with the community to buy the light-coloured woven netting to protect their trees.

“I am asking people to think very carefully about the netting they use. This stuff can be bought at any hardware store,” she said.

“It’s not a hard thing to do and it saves a lot of pain and suffering for the birds and flying foxes.”



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