14 Feb Netting caught Grey-headed Flying-fox
Over the summer months in NSW, entanglement in netting loosely draped over fruit trees is a prime cause for flying-fox-rescues. In January 2021 the female Grey-headed Flying-fox pictured was badly caught up in black monofilament netting placed over a fruiting peach tree at Gum Scrub. Rather than attempt the delicate extraction from netting operation up on a ladder the FAWNA rescuer, with the property owner’s permission, pruned the peach branch, cut the netting surrounding the flying fox and bundled them all into a transport carrier back to home base. She was safely freed from the netting without apparent damage to her delicate wing membranes, but in accordance with flying-fox rescue and care protocol the flying-fox was held in care for a month to ensure later damage did not manifest. She was safely released into the nearest flying-fox camp to where she was found at Red Hill on 2nd February 2021.
According to the website www.wildlifefriendlyfencing.com rescue statistics show that most animals caught up by inappropriate netting die with horrific injuries or require long term care before release. This flying-fox was one of the lucky ones. The site provides helpful hints on the right kinds of wildlife-friendly netting to choose to protect a crop and includes illustrations of different ways to protect your trees and avoid harm to wildlife.
Flying-foxes are a keystone species that plays an important pollination and seed dispersal role in our native forests all along the Australian eastern seaboard. Grey-headed Flying-fox populations have suffered from food shortages and high numbers of deaths from heat stress events in recent years; putting further pressure on this Threatened Species.