Native animals need care

Bat caught in the wrong kind of netEvery now and then in life we all need a helping hand, a caring act, a esture of kindness. So it can be said for the native wildlife that call the nation’s capital home.

As our residential footprint expands, so does the likelihood of impact on native critters. Be it an enigmatic flying fox or a humble wombat, occasionally wildlife needs a helping hand as a result of the influence we humans have brought to bear upon their environment.

Driven by a sense of caring, of giving something back to the natural world, a band of passionate volunteers came together under the banner of ACT Wildlife. They are the bush capital’s principle wildlife care group. They care for our sick, injured or orphaned native animals.

Their tireless efforts are truly remarkable. They represent a quintessential element of what underpins a caring community, a giving community.

Nestled within the tranquil surrounds of Jerrabomberra Wetland, a purpose built facility to rehabilitate Canberra’s native wildlife recently opened its doors. ACT Parks and Conservation was happy to contribute $83,000 to the facility. This wonderful clinic, complete with office environs, has been designed to be the catalyst to enable ACT Wildlife to simply be there when native fauna need us most.

With loss of habitat such as clearing of native trees, endemic wildlife are increasingly seeking nourishment within a domestic setting. Fruit trees and flowering plants their preferred choice.

In turn, tree netting is increasingly popular as a wat to ward off marauding, ravenous critters.

The statistics, however, are alarming. Most native animals entangled in the wrong type of netting die from terrible injuries or require intensive care prior to successful release.

Before placing any netting over your backyard bounty, be it fresh veggies or ripe fruit, do the ‘finger poke test'. It’s easy. It’s effective:

If you can poke a finger through any netting, it’s harmful to local wildlife.

Flying foxes, birds, lizards, snakes and occasionally even possums can all fall victim. Once entwined in large mesh netting, wildlife simply can’t free themselves. Struggling tends to cut ever deeper.It’s devastating.

Flying foxes are particularly vulnerable. If you see an entangled bat, avoid trying to free it. Call ACT Wildlife. Bats can carry the fatal Lyssa virus. If you should be bitten or scratched attend the hospital. Leave any rescue to a trained, fully vaccinated carer. After all, they are the experts.

Prevention, of course, is the best cure. Let’s avoid netting entrapment in the first place.

Play your role in keeping native wildlife happy and healthy by choosing densely woven netting. Remember the figure poke test.

To lean more visit ACT Wildlife - Home

Brett McNamara is with ACT Parks Conservation Service.

Brett Mac

Brett McNamara - Regional Manager with ACT Parks & Conservation Service

Brett loves our national parks almost as much as the Gang-gang on his uniform. He is prone to using the word 'majestic' when referring to the bush capital. He loves talking. A lot. His favourite animal is the playful platypus.

Article also appeared on 26 February 2019 in The Chronicle