Australia's native wildlife face a range of significant risks e.g. habitat destruction, road trauma, attacks from domestic/feral animals and disease. Entanglement in barbed wire, inappropriate fruit netting and discarded fishing line/tackle/netting also represents a serious risk to wildlife, causing horrendous injuries (frequently causing death). Flying foxes, seabirds, water fowl, gliders, owls, marine mammals and turtles, macropods and reptiles are some of the species that unfortunately become entangled.
Reporting by the public to wildlife rescue groups of entanglement sightings will always be important – to minimise suffering and to maximise the chance of a successful rescue. Animals that have been successfully rescued and rehabilitated can then be returned to the wild. This reporting is also important to help build a solid body of data to help wildlife/conservation groups in their efforts to increase awareness of these risks to wildlife, and when engaging with government and corporate stakeholders to advocate for risk minimisation initiatives.
This project was inspired by the Wildlife Friendly Fencing initiative and has been expanded to include entanglements relating to discarded fishing gear, which still continues to be a significant risk to a range of animals, especially seabirds, water fowl and turtles. It is hoped that this app will be useful for (and support the efforts of) volunteer wildlife rescue groups around Australia who are faced with these challenging rescues on a daily basis, and help increase the use of wildlife-friendly fencing / fruit netting and the responsible disposal of fishing tackle/line and nets.
Sincere appreciation to Tolga Bat Hospital, Wildcare Australia Inc., Wild Bird Rescues Gold Coast, Bats Qld., Pelican and Seabird Rescue Inc., Bat Conservation & Rescue Queensland Inc. Reptile Rehabilitation Queensland Inc. and H. & D. Cuschieri for their advice and support.
A final thanks to all wildlife rescuers, carers, veterinary staff and members of the wider community around Australia for their dedication to helping our native wildlife, from reporting entanglements through to rescue, treatment, rehabilitation and release.