The Mid South Coast WIRES Branch volunteers are receiving an increasing number of calls from the public reporting native animals being caught in bird netting.
Earlier this week a large Red-bellied black snake was caught in bird netting on a property on Ridge Road, Malua Bay.
Tony de la Fosse and Kay Mallitt, both local WIRES snake rescuers, responded to the call for assistance from the property owner to free the black snake.
Photos : Tony de la Fosse
“When we arrived, the black snake was badly entangled around the head and upper body in some older style nylon bird netting,” Mr de la Fosse said. “Working as a team we carefully cut the old bird netting off the black snake before releasing it back into the wild. Luckily, it didn’t suffer any major injuries however it would have died if WIRES was not called.”
Whilst tree netting is still a popular way to protect fruit from wildlife, if the wrong type of netting is used it can be deadly. The wrong sort of netting can cut into the animals skin and then wrap around the animal so tightly that their circulation is cut off. Ultimately the animal dies of thirst, starvation or strangulation.
“Wildlife netting which has a mesh size greater than 1cm square is particularly dangerous for wildlife. Wildlife friendly netting should have a mesh size of less than 5 mm. If you can poke your finger through the mesh it’s too large and should not be used,” Mr de la Fosse said. “Now would be a great time to replace old netting with wildlife friendly netting to ensure the wild animals in our unique environment remain safe,”
If you wish to protect a tree or vegetable patch WIRES recommends a densely woven net that will not trap wildlife and doesn’t need a frame, such as the ‘Fruit Saver’ nets, ‘Hail Guard’ or ‘Vege Net’. These nets are all white - the colour best seen by animals at night. You can find them online or gardening centres.
To donate, visit the website http://www.wires.org.au/branch/donate-midsouthcoast
For rescue help please call WIRES Rescue Line 1300 094 737.