There are few sights more sickening than seeing a kangaroo or wallaby hanging from its hind legs in a wire fence. It’s a scene that I’ve witnessed too many times over the years. The poor animal has attempted to jump the fence and has caught its legs in-between the two top strands of wire and is left hanging, unable to free itself. It’s an ugly and very painful death, usually of shock, starvation or having been eaten alive by foxes or wild dogs. Deep scratches in the ground are the result of the roo clawing desperately with its front paws. On a couple of occasions I’ve even found the poor animal still alive, too close to death to be able to save them, but with a look of fear still in their eyes. Putting them out of their misery was an awful business.
Most of my readers, friends and family know how I feel about traditionally constructed wire fencing. I hate large open profile wiring (sometimes called deer and goat wiring). I also hate barbed wire (native North Americans used to call it ‘the devils rope’), which still accounts for many horrific injuries to our wildlife (kangaroos, possums, sugar gliders, flying foxes and many birds such as tawny frogmouths, kookaburras and owls). While some farmers and land managers use more wildlife friendly fence construction methods they’re unfortunately still in the minority.
Here are a few good links describing various wildlife friendly fencing projects. If you own a property with extensive fencing you should check them out. Wildlife friendly fencing will keep our native animals happy and will often be cheaper to construct and maintain.
Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project is based in Queensland and was kick-started via the Threatened Species Network of the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The original project sought to develop educational resources, as well as achieve on-ground changes to traditional fences. It is an excellent resource for anyone considering the fencing of rural properties.
Wildlife Mountain also has a good page titled Barbed Wire Versus Native Animals.
Long Grass Nature Refuge describes the removal of barbed wire fencing on a 1200 acre property in SW Queensland.
Tolga Bat Hospital have a page describing barbed-wire injuries to bats and birds.