RECENTLY the WIRES Hotline has received numerous calls about flying foxes entangled on fences. This happens repeatedly each year from September to November when females are pregnant or heavily laden with a pup they are nursing.
Flying foxes carry their pups on their underbelly until their young are able to fend for themselves at about four months old. This is when they can fly and feed independently. Until that age is reached and while the pups are being carried and growing heavier the female can tire easily and misjudge fence heights and clearances. This is what is currently happening and flying foxes and their pups are coming into care with horrid wing-torn injuries from these entanglements.
Flying foxes are listed as vulnerable to extinction. They are crucial pollinators of our forests. Unfortunately many species of wildlife get caught on barbed wire fences when they are near water or fruiting and flowering trees.
If it is absolutely necessary to use barbed wire please consider using plain wire for the top strand of wire. You can also improve the visibility of the fence near these danger spots using flagging tape, shiny metal tags or bunting.
If you see a flying fox entangled, injured or alone during the daytime, do not touch. Simply cover with a light sheet and call WIRES and one of our vaccinated trained volunteers will rescue the bat.
Contact WIRES for rescues, advice or enquiries. The 24-hour hotline is for all calls to WIRES in the Northern Rivers - 6628 1898. www.wiresnr.org
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