Netting entangles hundreds of bats

Baby flying foxes at the RSPCA Wacol. Photo: Inga Williams / The Satellite
Baby flying foxes at the RSPCA Wacol. Photo: Inga Williams / The Satellite Inga Williams

ANIMAL welfare organisations are pleading for the community's help after an unusually high spate of flying fox entrapments.

RSPCA Queensland says more than 70 flying foxes have been rescued from netting in the past three weeks.

Wildlife veterinarian Bonny Cumming said the babies and adults were becoming entangled in netting used to protect fruit trees from insects.

She said many more had perished, subjected to a slow and painful death, along with other native animals such as gliders, birds and lizards.

The RSPCA is now urging residents to make sure they have the correct type of netting.

"Most people are prepared to do the right thing if the situation is explained to them," Ms Cumming said.

"We recommend a densely woven net that won't trap wildlife and doesn't need a frame."

Ms Cumming said Fruit Saver, Hail Guard and Vege Net fit this criteria.

She said these nets were also white making them easier for animals to spot at night.

"It's important that people understand the tragic toll that the wrong type of netting can inflict on our native wildlife," she said.

"Hungry animals are easily caught in common bird netting.

"They become entangled and can't free themselves. While struggling to escape the net cuts into their flesh and the animal eventually dies in the most painful way. The sad thing is that it's easily preventable."

Bat Conservation and Rescue president Louise Saunders said her organisation was called out to more than 130 flying fox rescues last month alone.

She said residents should never preform their own rescue.

"For your safety and for the sake of the flying-fox, always call a wildlife rescue service," she said.

"A frightened flying-fox is likely to bite or scratch, potentially exposing a well-meaning rescuer to the rare but deadly Australian Bat Lyssavirus disease.

"That inevitably means vaccinations for anyone bitten or scratched, and death for the flying-fox because Queensland Health requires them to be euthanised for testing.

"It's important to call a rescuer even if a flying-fox on powerlines appears to be dead because they may have a live baby tucked up under their wing.

"There are currently three flying-fox species in Brisbane - Black, Grey-headed and Little Red flying-foxes.

"There is enough food at the moment but the dry weather could make things tough for flying-foxes over the next few weeks. It is currently birthing time for Black and Grey-headed flying-foxes, which means they are extremely vulnerable to food shortages."

Topics:  bats flying fox

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