The grey-headed flying
fox used to number in the millions in the southwestern state of Victoria, Australia, but that was years ago. Now the megabat's numbers are in decline as they increasingly fight for a place to find food and shelter. The enormous bat has evolved to stand a fighting chance when facing one of its natural threats like eagles and snakes. But there is one thing their millions of years of evolution hasn't prepared them for — tree nets.
Human encroachment in the form of development has not only taken over all urban areas but is now expanding outwards, toppling trees and stealing vital habitat where the bats used to forage for fruit and nest.
So much so that bats have turned to fruit trees and orchards in the cities and suburbs just to find a meal.
But many homeowners cover their fruit trees with wide-hold nets to protect their fruit. These nets tangle, maim and kill countless bats every year.
Bats don't have hands to help them break loose, so as they struggle to free themselves the nets often tighten around them.
Wildlife Victoria alone says they have gotten nearly 80 cases of bat entanglements just this year. Stuck in a net, rope slowly tightening around your neck, slowly starving is a horrible way to die.
The worst part is animal advocates say all this suffering is unnecessary. There are wildlife-friendly netting options available.
These nets go tightly over the tree and provide fewer chances for a bat to get trapped. Another option is fruit socks which can go around individual fruits. Socks might even be more ideal because you can protect some fruit and leave others to share with the bats. The bottom line is that the widespread use of the bat-killing wide-holed nets is putting even more pressure on the survival of this extremely important species.
There are safer options that don't put the flying fox at risk. The government must ban the use of these nets, especially since there are bat safe alternatives. Sign this petition and ask the Parliament of Victoria and Wildlife Victoria to ban the use of wide-holed bat-killing nets.