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Volunteers help flying foxes

These young flying foxes are being cared for by Val Dworzak and Pieter Haynes after being rescued from netting, power lines and fences.
These young flying foxes are being cared for by Val Dworzak and Pieter Haynes after being rescued from netting, power lines and fences. Allan Reinikka

ROCKHAMPTON and Yeppoon's volunteer bat rescuers have seen their fair share of severely injured flying foxes, hopelessly entangled in the "bird netting" used to protect fruit trees.

With many of the bats dying in these nets or having to be euthanised later, the only four inoculated volunteers in the area are urging people to use other methods to protect their fruit trees.

Rescuers Michelle Kraatz and Leslie Smith said it was heartbreaking to see them trapped.

"They're normally hungry, scared and in pain when we find them," Michelle said yesterday.

"It can be a very slow death if they're not found."

The rescued bats are taken to Val Dworzak and Pieter Haynes, who recuperate the cute critters at their property near Yeppoon.

Val said although the job was "full on" it was very rewarding.

"Once you bond with them, you just love them," she said.

"They love cuddles and have such unique personalities."

Leslie said the group would love to see the netting taken off the market, but hoped that, at the very least, hardware stores which sell the thin nylon netting could warn customers of the dangers.

Leslie also said they would love to get more people on board.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer rescuer or carer phone Val on 4938 3141 or Leslie on 4926 3336.

 

FRUIT TREE NETS

  • Never buy thin nylon nets
  • Tension nets tightly
  • Always buy white or light-coloured nets
  • Try tying paper bags over the fruit, a 30% shade cloth or home-made framed enclosures
  • If an animal becomes trapped do not free it yourself, call Rockhampton Wildlife Service on 0437 556 744.

Topics:  flying foxes volunteers



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