‘Doomed to slow death’: Hooks snag bats

WARNING: Graphic

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.

A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

 

"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.

A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

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 male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

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.

A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A male spectacled flying fox was caught from his shoulder to his mouth on a three-pronged hook, with a second pair of hooks through his leg. Bats and Trees Society of Cairns volunteers managed to rescue him with the help of Smithfield firefighters. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"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."

A flying hanging from a tree after being entangled in fishing lures was rescued with the help of Smithfield firefighters and volunteers from the Bats and Trees Society of Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A flying hanging from a tree after being entangled in fishing lures was rescued with the help of Smithfield firefighters and volunteers from the Bats and Trees Society of Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

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.

A flying hanging from a tree after being entangled in fishing lures was rescued with the help of Smithfield firefighters and volunteers from the Bats and Trees Society of Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED
A flying hanging from a tree after being entangled in fishing lures was rescued with the help of Smithfield firefighters and volunteers from the Bats and Trees Society of Cairns. PICTURE: SUPPLIED

"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



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