The lack of natural food sources is driving flying-foxes towards Shoalhaven backyards to feed and Wildlife Rescue South Coast has been attending up to two rescues a day.
Our native colony of flying foxes usually feed on eucalyptus blossom, which has been in short supply recently.
Those who grow fruit and vegetables can still protect their crops without causing any harm to flying foxes.
Flying foxes can be entangled in netting loosely placed over fruit crops.
“If the mesh is large, if you can fit your fingers through, native animals such as flying foxes, possums, birds, lizards and snakes, can become entangled, suffer terrible injuries and die,” volunteer Janine Davies said.
“The netting cuts their mouths to shreds as they try and chew their way free. The net wraps so tightly around their limbs, body and head that circulation is cut off. Although there may be no apparent signs of injury when first rescued, the tissue dies and becomes apparent days or even weeks later. Unfortunately this means many flying foxes will need to be euthanised.”
There are many suitable nets available.
Wildlife Rescue South Coast recommends visiting Wildlife Friendly Netting here.
Never try and disentangle a native animal by yourself, contact the WRSC on their 24 Hour Rescue line: 0418 427 214.
“Please do not touch any flying fox or microbat but call us for assistance,” Mrs Davies said.
If the phone line is busy, please wait a few minutes and try again as it is their busiest time of year and resources are stretched.
If anyone is bitten or scratched by a flying fox or microbat, they should immediately wash the area with soap and running water for five minutes then seek immediate medical attention as they need to undergo a course of vaccination.
Want to volunteer?
Volunteers divide their time between helping to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife and other essential support roles. These other roles are in fields including fundraising, public education, publicity, joining the telephone roster and transportation of animals. These support roles are important to the successful functioning of the group and can be very rewarding to the volunteer.