‘Doomed to slow death’: Hooks snag bats
FLYING foxes tangled in treetops by knotted fishing line and pierced by sharp hooks have been saved after extraordinary rescue efforts by carers and firefighters.
Cairns recreational fishers have been urged to take care with their tackle boxes after two rescues over the past fortnight.
Bats and Trees Society volunteer Lisa Thomson received help from Smithfield Fire Station firefighters to perform the tricky northern beaches rescue efforts, both of which involved flying foxes trapped high in trees.
"The small, and sometimes large, efforts that we make spare our precious wildlife from enormous pain and suffering," she said.
"And for that I thank each and everyone involved."
The first rescue involved a female spectacled flying fox ensnared in a fishing lure that had snagged on a paperbark branch over a waterway.
Three prongs of one hook had pierced her mouth and sinuses, while the other went through her wing.
"Firefighters cut the fishing line and dropped her into the lake, where I fished her out with a borrowed pool scoop," Ms Thomson said.
A stray lure was also the culprit behind the second rescue of a male bat caught from shoulder to mouth with one three-pronged hook while another pierced his leg.
He was 10m above ground level.
"While we were trying to work out how to rescue him, a female flew in to keep him company and also became caught on one of his hooks," Ms Thomson said.
"Firies felled the tree, with permission of the owner, controlling its descent so that fellow bat carer Roslyn and I could wrangle one bat each."
Ms Thomson called on fishers to do their utmost to retrieve lost hooks and lures and to keep tackle safely tucked away in a cupboard or container - even at home.
She thanked members of the community for alerting her to the animals' plight.
"Without them calling us, these rescues would not have happened and the flying foxes would be doomed to a slow and agonising death from starvation and/or infection," she said.
The two female bats are recovering well, while the male has a more complicated recovery.
"We are keeping male and female together as they seem to be a mated couple," she said.
Originally published as 'Doomed to slow death': Hooks snag bats