WIRES volunteer Deborah had the heartbreaking experience of rescuing a Goshawk off barbed wire a few days ago.
Sadly thousands of animals die each year in the cruellest of circumstances due to barbed wire. These entanglements often leave members of the public and rescuers distressed due to the severity of the injuries to wildlife.
All species of native animals are vulnerable to this silent lifeless predator, but nocturnal animals such as bats, gliders and owls are particularly susceptible to this hazard, and are often entangled when flying towards fruiting trees or dams and creeks close to barbed wire. The suffering endured by these animals is unimaginable.
When an animal is caught, it will struggle in fear and pain; sadly this only serves to further entangle it in the barbs. In many cases the animal is not discovered for some time.
If you find an animal on barbed wire, call your nearest wildlife care organisation immediately, do not try to free the animal yourself. If possible provide shade whilst waiting for a rescuer to arrive.
What can you do to prevent this occurrence?
Firstly, we ask landowners to consider whether the barbed wire fence is necessary. Sometimes the fenced area no longer contains livestock so could be removed or replaced with plain wire.
If you already have barbed wire fences, the top strand of barbed wire could be replaced with ordinary wire, this would help stop gliders, bats and birds being caught.
An alternate method to stop flying animals being caught is to use old garden hose slit down its length, then slid over the top strand of the barbed wire at the “hot spots”( fruiting trees or dams and creeks close to barbed wire)
Strips of cloth or any shiny material, tied at intervals along the middle strand of fencing wire, is another way to help prevent injury by alerting both flying and running animals that the wire is there.
The best method of all is simply to get rid of the barbed wire completely. If erecting a new fence please consider the alternatives to barbed wire.
If you have old wire on the property that no longer has a purpose, please dispose of it and save a few lives in the process. We receive quite a few calls every year for wildlife entangled in piles of disused wire or netting.
Deborah rushed the Goshawk to Dr Megan at Vitality Vetcare at Bangalow where it was given pain medication and treated for extensive wounds. Its fate is still uncertain, but it is in the best possible hands in care with WIRES volunteer Melanie who has extensive experience and is specially trained in the care of raptors.
As in all cases of finding orphaned or injured wildlife, please call WIRES on 1300 094 737 for assistance straight away.
Thank you Vitality Vetcare for your continued support.
Pictures by Deborah Pearse