Want to help wildlife? Think about your fences

With the onset of spring many native trees are in flower and fruit and this is peak time for wildlife such as flying foxes, sugar gliders and other native flying animals and birds.

Unfortunately it’s also a time when some of them get caught in barbed wire fences.

Byron Shire Council is working with committed wildlife carers to highlight the problem and asking property owners to consider installing a temporary, seasonal solution to the problem.

Council’s Biodiversity and Agricultural Project Officer, Peter Boyd, said that while native animals have terrific night vision and senses of smell, they often can’t see thin, dark things such as barbed wire.

“While birds can fly up and away from a tree when they are feeding, flying foxes tend to drop from the tree to fly away and if they aren’t high enough, they can hit barbed wire fences where they get caught, tear their wings and hang unprotected and in pain until they are rescued or they die,” Mr Boyd said.

“Flying foxes are the key pollinators in our bush and are an integral part of our ecosystem but their numbers are declining in Australia which is very concerning.

“Flying foxes pollinate both eucalyptus and rainforest trees, and without them the health of our koala habitat and precious ancient rainforests is under threat,” he said.

In an effort to stop flying foxes getting caught on barbed wire fences a local wildlife carer is wrapping the top two strands of the wire in light-coloured shade cloth to make it more visible at night.

The shade cloth is cut to length and attached by zip ties and worked perfectly over the last season when a fig tree was full of fruit and visited by hundreds of flying foxes every night.

“Council is encouraging farmers and property owners in the Byron Shire to look at their fencing and adapt it, where possible, to make it more wildlife friendly,” Mr Boyd said.

“Information about fencing options is available at www.wildlifefriendlyfencing.com or people can give me a call and I can have a chat to them,” he said.

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