Barb Busters working hard to save wildlife

Helping hands: Barb Busters are removing barbed wire fencing from local properties in an effort to reduce damage to wildlife in the area.

Helping hands: Barb Busters are removing barbed wire fencing from local properties in an effort to reduce damage to wildlife in the area.

Young District Landcare recently teamed up with WIRES Weddin-Lachlan Branch to remove barbed wire from internal fences on a Young property.

Some of the Young Landcare and WIRES in action removing the barbed wire from a local property. Barb Busters will be holding more working bees in the cooler months.

Some of the Young Landcare and WIRES in action removing the barbed wire from a local property. Barb Busters will be holding more working bees in the cooler months.

The property is owned by Jane Wilson, a member of Young District Landcare and WIRES Weddin-Lachlan Branch, where she specialises in the care of gliders and possums. 

Some time ago Jane discovered an animal's tail hanging from a barbed wire fence on her property. The tail was later confirmed to be that of a Squirrel Glider, a nocturnal gliding possum listed as Vulnerable under the NSW Threatened Species Act.

Having rescued a number of Squirrel Gliders from barbed wire fences around the Young district and rehabilitated them back to health, Jane was horrified to think that one had met its demise on her property. 

In an attempt to confirm the presence of others on her place, Jane set up an infrared camera on a large dead standing tree with numerous hollows.

To her delight, when she checked the camera the next day, there was a Squirrel Glider at the entrance to a hollow.

Once she had confirmation of Squirrel Gliders on her property, Jane decided to improve the habitat for them by planting wattles and eucalypts and removing the barbed wire to prevent others getting caught. 

So a Barb Busters working bee was organised and over three kilometres of barbed wire was removed from all internal fences within a few hours by a team of enthusiastic volunteers.

“I feel very happy that there is a much safer environment now for the gliders on my property.” Jane said after the working bee. “The removal of barbed wire and replacement with plain wire will provide adequate containment for the sheep.”

It has been estimated that tens of millions of kilometres of fences now subdivide the Australian landscape, with sixty five percent of these having barbed wire on the top strand.

Each year thousands of native animals face death or injury from entanglement on barbed wire fences. Nobody really knows the extent or how many. Many are removed by the landholder or eaten by foxes, cats and even birds of prey.

More than 75 wildlife species have been identified in Australia as occasional or regular victims of barbed wire fences. 

Young District Landcare and WIRES Weddin-Lachlan Branch will continue Barb Busters working bees throughout the cooler months. 

If you would like to have barbed wire removed from your fences please contact Young District Landcare Coordinator Mikla Lewis on 0499 199 016 or email youngdistrictlandcare@gmail.com

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