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A way to make barbed wire safer

October 28, 2011

" This intervention won’t make the barbed wire that seems to be popping up throughout Marrickville LGA safer for people, but it will make it safer for urban wildlife. As for razor wire, as far as I am concerned it has no place in the Inner West. I came across a website called ‘The Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project.’ It is trying to raise awareness about the dreadful impact of barbed wire fencing on wildlife. See – http://wildlifefriendlyfencing.com/WFF/Home.html

“Each year thousands of animals face a cruel death or permanent injury from entanglement on barbs, usually on the top strand. More than 75 wildlife species have been identified in Australia as occasional or regular victims of barbed wire fences, especially nocturnal animals such as bats, gliders & owls. Many fail to see the fence, or cannot clear the height under windy conditions. Most of those rescued are too severely damaged to return to the wild.”

Until organisations like Railcorp & Marrickville Council remove barbed wire from their fencing, interested people can do something simple that will go a long way to helping birds & bats avoid injury.



A length of white ribbon or other white material tied at 1.5 – 2 metre intervals along the top strand of barbed wire will make this area visible to birds & they will fly above the barbed wire. The top strand is important as 86% of wildlife entangled on barbed wire is caught on the top strand & white is the colour that is most easily visible at night. The material should be long enough to be able to move in the wind. A 25 cm length tied will allow a drop of around 12 cms (5 inches), enough to be able to flutter, but not so much to be a visible eyesore.

This is a simple & cheap way of preventing injury to wildlife. !!! Anyone who wants to do this needs to be careful not to injure themselves whist attaching the ribbon to the fence. A pair of leather gardening gloves will help avoid injury as will long sleeves & a careful approach. !!! And stay away from razor wire!

The Wildlife Friendly Fencing Project is also calling for the banning of sales of monofilament (thin nylon type) netting & all black netting across Australia. Their website has photographs of animals caught in this type of netting & the injuries are horrendous. Bats & birds that get caught in this type of netting suffer a long, slow & agonising death for want of a simple change of netting & doing the job properly. Bird & bat-friendly netting is readily available & all one has to do is ensure that the netting is tight around the tree so that it has a bounce-effect. This will allow wildlife to walk over the netting without getting entangled & without being able to get to your fruit. If the flying-foxes do get dispersed from Sydney’s Botanic Gardens, we will likely have an increase in bats in our suburbs & more care needs to be applied to not expose them to unnecessary dangers. "

This is an extreme example of poor netting technique. It's easy to see how wildlife can become entangled in this


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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats: A way to make barbed wire safer
A way to make barbed wire safer
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BATS. Megabats, Flying-foxes, Fruit bats and Microbats
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