YOU CAN HELP: WIRES Northern Rivers is calling for donations to prevent wildlife becoming trapped in barbed wire.
YOU CAN HELP: WIRES Northern Rivers is calling for donations to prevent wildlife becoming trapped in barbed wire. contributed

Your old electric fencing tape could save wildlife

UNUSED and unwanted electric fence tape sitting in your shed could be saving the life of native birds or animals.

Every year hundreds of native birds, gliders and flying foxes, become caught in barbed wire fences in the Northern Rivers.

During the past year alone WIRES Northern Rivers have attended more than 300 such calls; 50 for birds, gliders, and wallabies and over 250 for flying-foxes.

A WIRES Spokes woman said the survival rate for these wildlife casualties is less than fifty percent.

"Their injuries are often horrific as they become more and more tangled and their skin ripped as they struggle to free themselves," the spokes woman said.

"These animals become highly distressed and dehydrated as they are exposed to the elements, unable to seek shelter from the sun and wind.

"Members of the public and wildlife carers alike find these rescues particularly distressing due to the severity of the injuries to wildlife. Nocturnal animals such as bats, gliders and owls are particularly susceptible because they often become caught in the barbs when flying down towards fruiting trees or dams and creeks."

She said sadly, there were some strips of barbed wire that repeatedly trap wildlife - particularly those that run past fruiting or flowering trees, where wildlife come to feed.

One way of minimising wildlife casualties is for landowners to place a visible tape along the top strand of the fence to make it more visible, particularly at night.

Various tapes can be used, but electric fence tape (often white or red and white striped) is particularly durable and in some circumstances WIRES volunteers may be able to assist.

Landowners are also encouraged to consider whether their barbed wire fences are necessary. Sometimes the fence no longer contains livestock so could be removed or replaced with plain wire.

"While it is wonderful to plant fruiting and flowering plants, particularly natives, consider avoiding planting such trees next to barbed wire fences," the spokes woman said.

WIRES are seeking donations of disused electric fence tape so that they can assist to flag strands of barbed wire in high risk areas.

This is a great way of recycling and reusing what might otherwise be sent to the tip.

"If you have any unused and unwanted electric fence tape in your shed that you would be willing to donate to WIRES, you could be saving the life of many a bird or animal," she said.

If you can assist please call 6628 18 98.

If you find a bird or animal tangled on a fence it is extremely important you do not cut it to try to free it as this would cause the animal further pain and almost certainly make it unviable for survival.

WIRES volunteers are equipped and trained to remove animals from barbed wire, so call our 24 hr hotline 66281898 and someone will come to the animal's rescue.

If you are keen to make a difference for the wildlife in the area, consider joining WIRES. For more information about how you can join and contribute call 6628 18 98.