ArticlePDF Available

Barbed wire fencing as a hazard for wildlife



Content may be subject to copyright.
During a study of the ecology of arboreal
marsupials in a network of roadside and
streamside vegetation near Euroa, Victoria,
a number of Squirrel Glider Petaurus nor-
folcensis and Sugar Glider P. breviceps
carcasses were discovered suspended from
barbed wire fences (Fig. 1). There have
been several incidental observations of
such deaths for a range of species in
Australia and overseas (Russell 1980;
Allen and Ramirez 1990; Andrews 1990;
Krake 1991; Nero 1993; Land for Wildlife
1994; Platt and Temby 1994; Johnson
1995; Anonymous 1996; Tischendorf and
Johnson 1997; van der Ree 1997;
Campbell 1998; Johnson and Thiriet 1998)
but the extent of this problem is still rela-
tively unknown. The aim of this study was
to quantify the extent of the situation by
collecting records from a range of sources
and describing the actual event (e.g.
species, fence type, which strand of wire,
Study area and methods
Case study – Euroa, Victoria
The study area lies within the northern
plains of Victoria and is bounded by the
towns of Euroa, Violet Town, Nagambie,
Avenal and Murchison. Formerly dominat-
ed by open eucalypt woodland, there is
now 3.6% remnant vegetation cover,
approximately 85% of which occurs as lin-
ear strips along roads and streams (van der
Ree, unpubl. data). The remaining 15% is
made up of small patches of woodland.
The major land use is agriculture, with
extensive dryland cropping and grazing
(Bennett et al. 1998).
Observations of animals caught on
barbed wire fences were made opportunis-
The Victorian Naturalist
Research Reports
Barbed Wire Fencing as a Hazard for Wildlife
Rodney van der Ree1
Anecdotal reports from landholders and biologists suggest that the entanglement and subsequent
death of animals on barbed wire fences is widespread in Australia. In this report, I collate records of
at least 62 species of wildlife that have become entangled on barbed wire fences in Australia. This
paper is divided into two components; the first focuses on an area near Euroa in northern Victoria as
a case study, and the second lists records from throughout Australia. In the Euroa study area, the
species most commonly encountered on fences were gliding marsupials (Sugar Glider Petaurus bre-
viceps and Squirrel Glider P. norfolcensis) (26 individuals), followed by birds (7 individuals). On a
continental scale, species found entangled in barbed wire include gliding marsupials, flying-foxes,
aquatic birds, night birds and birds of prey. Records were collected from a wide range of habitats
and localities, including the urban-rural fringe, forests and woodlands, agricultural landscapes, semi-
arid areas and around water bodies. All individuals were found entangled with barbed wire, and
more than 95% of entanglements occurred on standard height farm fencing. Recommendations for
alternatives to barbed wire fencing are discussed. (The Victorian Naturalist 116 (6), 1999, 210-217.)
1School of Ecology and Environment, Deakin
University, Rusden Campus, 662 Blackburn Rd,
Clayton, Victoria 3168.
Fig. 1. Dead Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfol-
censis caught in a barbed wire fence. Photo by
R. van der Ree.
tically while undertaking fieldwork on the
ecology of arboreal marsupials. Additional
records were obtained from local landhold-
ers. There was no systematic searching to
detect entangled animals, and consequently
the results of this study are likely to under-
estimate the severity of the problem.
Whenever possible, the following para-
meters were obtained for each entangle-
date found;
approximate time since death or entan-
species, sex and approximate age (the
approximate age of Petaurus species was
determined using the level of upper
incisor wear (refer Suckling 1984; Quin
location (latitude and longitude), and
description of site;
the point of entanglement on the animal’s
body (e.g. wing, neck, tail, gliding mem-
the fence characteristics (fence type,
barbed or plain wire strand, strand posi-
tion in the fence).
Australia-wide Perspective
This section is a preliminary report of
records from a wide range of people across
Australia and is intended to highlight the
issue and present initial findings. I collated
the same information as that collected for
the Euroa study area, from sources includ-
ing Field Naturalist groups, Landcare
groups, landholders and biologists,
between 1996 and the present. I also
requested records from members of the
Ecological Society of Australia,
Australasian Wildlife Management
Society, Field Naturalist Club of Victoria,
and Birds Australia via their electronic
mail discussion lists and newsletters. The
wildlife atlas data-bases from Victoria and
New South Wales were investigated, as
was the Wildlife Information and Rescue
Service (WIRES) data-base.
Euroa study area
Number and type of species entangled
A total of 33 animals was recorded
entangled on barbed wire between 1994
and 1998 in the Euroa study area (Table 1).
Fifteen were positively identified as
Squirrel Gliders and 11 gliders could not
be reliably identified to species and are
referred to as Petaurus sp. (this group
includes only Sugar Gliders and Squirrel
Gliders). Other species entangled with
barbed wire fencing included the
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen (2
individuals) (Fig. 2), and a single Rock
Vol. 116 (6) 1999 211
Research Reports
Table 1. Observations of wildlife entangled with barbed-wire fencing from the Euroa case study
area. Species listed in taxonomic order according to Christidis and Boles (1994) (birds) and
Menkhorst (1995) (mammals).
Species Scientific name Number of Fence type Wire type
Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis 15 f b
Sugar or Squirrel Glider Petaurus sp. 11 f b
Spoonbill Platalea sp. 1 f b
Rock Dove Columba livia 1fb
Galah Eolophus roseicapilla 1 f b
Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae 1 f b
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen 2 f b
White-winged Chough Corcorax melanorhamphos 1 f b
Fence type: f = standard height farm fence. Wire type: b = barbed wire.
Fig. 2. Ausralian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen
caught on barbed wire fence. Photo by R. van
der Ree.
Dove (Feral Pigeon) Columba livia,
Spoonbill Platalea species, Southern
Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae, White-
winged Chough Corcorax melanorham-
phos and Galah Eolophus roseicapilla.
Fence characteristics
All individuals were entangled with
barbed wire on standard farm fences
approximately one metre high. The appar-
ent point of entanglement of the animal
was with the barb on the wire. Where
entanglement position was recorded
(n=17), 12 entanglements occurred on the
top strand of the fence, one occurred on the
second strand from the top, and four
occurred on the third strand from the top.
Once caught on the barbed wire, it
appeared that many gliders and birds
became further entangled as they struggled
to free themselves. On one occasion, the
strand of wire was cut and the glider taken,
with the wire in-situ, to a wildlife shelter
for removal and rehabilitation. In the
Euroa study area, all 33 records occurred
where fences were positioned between
cleared paddocks and vegetated roadsides.
Carcass characteristics
The advanced decomposition of many
carcasses limited observations on the sex
and age of the animals. Four female and
one male Squirrel Glider were identified;
the sex of 21 gliders and seven birds was
not determined. Using the degree of tooth
wear on the upper incisors of the gliders as
an index of age, four individuals were
identified as juvenile and four as adults.
Age was not determined for the remaining
18 gliders or seven birds.
For gliders, the most common point of
entanglement was the tail (11 records)
(Table 2), followed by a combination of
the tail and gliding membrane (four
records) and the gliding membrane and leg
(two records). Three gliders were too
decomposed to determine the point of
entanglement, and point of entanglement
was not recorded for six individuals. Only
two gliders were found alive and released,
and these were entangled by the tail only.
One magpie was entangled by a combina-
tion of wing and neck, and the feral pigeon
was caught by its leg ring; the point of
entanglement was not recorded for the
remaining birds.
Australia-wide perspective
Number and type of species entangled
Sixty-two species of wildlife have been
observed entangled with barbed wire fenc-
ing across Australia (Table 3). The types
of species include gliding marsupials, bats,
ground-dwelling birds, water birds, night
birds and birds of prey. The most numer-
ous group reported entangled with barbed
wire fencing were flying foxes from north-
ern Australia. The Little Red Flying-fox
Pteropus scapulatus appears particularly
susceptible to entanglement in north
Queensland, with a published report of
over 450 individuals entangled in one year
(Johnson 1995), and another respondent
reported 200 individuals on one fence at
the same time (Jon Luly, pers. comm.).
Many respondents reported observing
numerous macropods (Black Wallaby
Wallabia bicolor, Eastern Grey Kangaroo
Macropus giganteus, Western Grey
Kangaroo M. fuliginosus, and Red
Kangaroo M. rufus) and Emus Dromaius
novaehollandieae with their legs entangled
in the top two strands of fences but could
not give detailed information about specif-
ic incidents because of the regularity with
which they were observed. This problem is
not specifically related to barbed wire, as
plain wire also entraps kangaroos and
Emus by their legs as they attempt to jump
the fence, and hence these records have not
been included in Table 3.
Mesh fencing may pose a barrier to those
species that are too large to pass through
the mesh and unable to jump or climb over
the fence. Certain species of reptile appear
to be particularly susceptible because their
rear facing scales and body shape allows
them to place their heads through the tight-
ly fitting mesh – but does not allow the rest
The Victorian Naturalist
Research Reports
Table 2. Point of entanglement of gliders found
on barbed wire fences in the Euroa study area,
1994-1998. No. = number of gliders found.
Point of entanglement No.
Tail only 11
Tail and gliding membrane 4
Gliding membrane and leg 2
Unable to tell (decomposed too far) 3
Not recorded 6
Total found 26
Vol. 116 (6) 1999 213
Research Reports
Table 3. Observations of wildlife entangled with barbed-wire fencing from across Australia (excluding
the Euroa case study records) as reported by volunteer observers. Species listed in taxonomic order
according to Christidis and Boles (1994) (birds) and Menkhorst (1995) and Strahan (1983) (mammals).
Species Scientific name State (Number of individuals) FenceWire
type type
Koala Phascolarctos cinerus NSW (2), QLD (4) f b, m
Greater Glider Petauroides volans Vic (2), NSW (6), Qld (4) f b
Yellow-bellied Glider Petaurus australis Vic (3), NSW (3), Qld (8) f b
Sugar Glider Petaurus breviceps Vic (25) NSW (9), Qld (44) f, c b
Squirrel Glider Petaurus norfolcensis Vic (24), NSW (12), Qld (5) f b
Sugar or Squirrel Glider Petaurus sp. Vic (12) NSW (1) f b
Mahogany Glider Petaurus gracilis Qld (5) f b
Brush-tailed Bettong Bettongia penicillata Qld (1) f b
Tasmanian Pademelon Thylogale billardierri Tas (1) f b
Grey-headed Flying-fox Pteropus poliocephalus Qld (4), NSW (3) f, c b
Little Red Flying-fox Pteropus scapulatus Qld (666^), NSW (5), f, c b
NT (6), WA (1)
Black Flying-fox Pteropus alecto Qld (23), NSW (81), NT (20) f, c b
Spectacled Flying-fox Pteropus conspicullatus Qld (25) f, c b
Flying-fox Pteropus sp. NSW (4), Qld (2), NT (75) f, c b
Queensland Tube-nosed Bat Nyctimene robinsoni Qld (41) f, c b
Ghost Bat Macroderma gigas NT (1) f b
White-striped Freetail Bat Tadarida australis Vic (1) f b
Long-eared Bat Nyctiphilus sp. NSW (1) f b
Microchiropteran Bat species unknown NSW (1), Qld (2) f b
Grassland Melomys Melomys burtoni NSW (1) f b
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes Vic (1) f b
Southern Cassowary Casuarius casuarius Qld (1) f b
King Quail Coturnix chinensis NSW (2) f b
Australian Wood Duck Chenonetta jubata Qld (1) f b
Pacific Black Duck Anas superciliosa NSW (3), Qld (1) f b
Hoary-headed Grebe Poliocephalus Vic (1) f b
Short-tailed Shearwater Puffinus tenuirostris Vic (<5) f b
Australian Pelican Pelecanus conspicillatus Vic (1) f b
White-faced Heron Egretta novaehollandiae Vic (1), NSW (3) f b
White-necked (Pacific) Heron Ardea pacifica Vic (1) f b
Nankeen Night Heron Nycticorax caledonicus NSW (1) f b
Royal Spoonbill Platalea regia Qld (2) f b
Wedge-tailed Eagle Aquila audax Vic (1) f b
Brown Falcon Falco berigora NSW (1) f b
Australian Hobby Falco longipennis NSW (1), Vic (1) f b
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus Vic (1) f b
Sarus Crane Girus antigone Qld (1) f b
Buff-banded Rail Gallirallus philippensis Qld (4) f b
Little Button-quail Turnix velox NSW (2) f b
Red-chested Button-quail Turnix pyrrhothorax NSW (1) f b
Lathams Snipe Gallinago hardwickii NSW (1) f b
Bush Stone-curlew Burhinus grallarius Qld (2) f b
Black-fronted Dotterel Charadrius melanops Vic (1) f b
Masked Lapwing Vanellus miles Vic (1), Qld (1) f b
Silver Gull Larus novaehollandiae Vic (<5) f b
Little Corella Cacatua sanguinea Qld (1) f b
Sulphur-crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita Qld (1) f b
Red-rumped Parrot Psephotus haematonotus Vic (1) f b
Southern Boobook Ninox novaeseelandiae NSW (1), Qld (1), Vic (3) f b
Masked Owl Tyto novaehollandiae NSW (2) f b
Barn Owl Tyto alba NSW (2), Qld (1), Vic (3) f b
Grass Owl Tyto capensis Qld (1), SA (1) f b
Tawny Frogmouth Podargus strigoides Qld (2), SA (2), Vic (4) f b
Australian Owlet-nightjar Aegotheles cristatus Vic (1) f b
The Victorian Naturalist
of their bodies to pass through or retreat.
Goats were reported to become entangled
with mesh fencing as their horns prevent
them from removing their heads from the
wire mesh once pushed through.
Electrified strands of wire too close to the
ground may electrocute Short-beaked
Echidnas Tachyglossus aculeatus if they
attempt to push underneath the wire. Fatal
collisions by various bird species with
mesh fencing was frequently recorded.
Wildlife also became entangled with wire
in non-fence situations; a Kookaburra
Dacelo novaeguineae was found impaled
on a protruding wire on a tree-guard, five
White-throated Needletails Hirundapus
Caudacutus and Black Swans Cygnus
atratus were observed dead on overhead
powerlines and a small insectivorous bat
was impaled by a piece of wire on the top
of a shed.
Records of fauna entangled with barbed
wire were received from across the
Australian continent. Wildlife were entan-
gled with barbed wire fences in a wide
range of habitats, including arid and semi-
arid rangelands, temperate woodlands,
forests, rainforest, wetlands, urban areas
and the rural-urban interface.
A localised and widespread problem
The most commonly encountered species
entangled with barbed wire in the Euroa
area was the Squirrel Glider. In parts of the
study area, roadside vegetation supports
high densities of the Squirrel Glider and
other arboreal marsupials (van der Ree,
unpubl. data). The total number of Squirrel
Gliders that became entangled with barbed
wire is probably much greater than that
reported here because many carcasses
could not be reliably identified. Moreover,
this report only includes those individuals
that have been found and reported. In
Victoria, the Squirrel Glider is present in
only a few large reserves (e.g. Chiltern
National Park, Killawarra State Park) and
is largely restricted to small patches of
woodland habitat or linear reserves along
roads and streams. This species has under-
gone a significant decline in abundance
and in Victoria is classified as vulnerable
to extinction (CNR 1995). The additional
threat of mortality from barbed wire fences
for small and isolated populations may be
detrimental to their long-term persistence.
The records collated from across
Australia indicate that the problem is wide-
spread. Records were collected from all
states of Australia, with most originating
from the eastern mainland states. The
absence of records from many areas may
be due to a paucity of observers and entan-
glements going unreported rather than an
absence of entanglements. As many entan-
glements undoubtedly go unobserved and
unreported, the results of this study must
be considered an underestimation. To
realise the full extent of the problem,
observations of entanglements need to be
reported and systematically collated. Of
the data-bases interrogated, only the New
South Wales Wildlife Atlas was able to
easily retrieve records of wildlife entan-
gled with fences. It would be useful for
other data-bases to include a specific code
for records that originate from such entan-
Research Reports
Table 3 continued.
Species Scientific name State (Number of individuals) FenceWire
type type
Laughing Kookaburra Dacelo novaeguineae NSW (2), Vic (1) f b
Dollarbird Eurystomus orientalis Qld (1) f b
Eastern Spinebill Acanthorhynchus NSW (1) f b
Magpie-lark Grallina cyanoleuca Vic (1) f b
Willie Wagtail Rhipidura leucophrys Qld (1) f b
Australian Magpie Gymnorhina tibicen ACT (1), Qld (2), SA (2), f, c, b
Vic (1) na
Silvereye Zosterops lateralis Vic (1) f b
Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris Vic (1) f b
^ = Includes records of 200 individuals (Jon Luly pers. comm.) and 450 individuals from Ravenshoe
district, north Queensland Fence type: f = standard height farm fence, c = 6 to 8 foot cyclone wire
mesh fence, na = not assessed Wire type: b = barbed wire, m = mesh.
Vol. 116 (6) 1999 215
glement so that in future the extent of the
situation can be accurately described.
Wildlife behavior
In the Euroa area, 85% of remnant vege-
tation occurs along roads and streams, and
the remaining 15% as small patches. The
practice of fencing on both sides of roads,
streams and around patches places wildlife
at risk of encountering a fence. The move-
ment patterns and behaviour of Squirrel
Gliders (as revealed by radiotelemetry) in
the Euroa area (van der Ree, unpubl. data)
may increase the risk of becoming entan-
gled with barbed wire fences. Squirrel
Gliders, and probably other gliders, risk
entanglement with barbed wire fencing
when gliding to and from woodland vege-
tation in paddocks and along roads and
streams. Gliders also glide diagonally
across corners at 90° intersections to min-
imise travel distance and energy demands.
These behaviours require the glider to reg-
ularly cross fencelines. The potential for
entanglement also increases as gliding dis-
tance increases; the longer the glide, the
lower the animal will land on its target tree
and the closer it is to the height of the
barbed wire fence.
The placement of barbed wire fences in
activity paths of other species may also
increase the rate of entanglement. In north
Queensland, barbed wire fences in fruit bat
flight paths regularly cause the entangle-
ment and mortality of at least five species
of fruit bat. Removal of bats from barbed
wire fences may place humans at risk of
infection with bat viruses, and extreme
care should be taken when removing these
animals1. New fencing erected in existing
wildlife travel paths can cause the entan-
glement and death of many individuals.
Many respondents reported that kangaroos
appear to be highly susceptible to entan-
glement in new fencing, and that consider-
ation to wildlife movements when design-
ing fences can minimise the problem.
There were insufficient data to determine
whether mortality by collision and entan-
glement with barbed wire is specific to age
or sex in any group of species.
Management implications
Habitat restoration and revegetation is a
goal of many government agencies, con-
servation groups and landholders. Fencing
is essential to control stock access in order
to protect native vegetation and allow for
natural regeneration of palatable species.
Wildlife populations in many rural areas
have already undergone considerable
declines, and often exist in small isolated
patches of habitat. The loss of individuals
by entanglement with fencing is an avoid-
able and unnecessary additional threat. All
fencing that utilises barbed wire to con-
serve or protect vegetation may conceiv-
ably place the fauna using that habitat at
risk of local extinction.
High risk areas
It appears from these results that areas of
potentially high risk can be identified:
Highly fragmented areas where animals
must regularly cross barbed wire fences
to reach different parts of their habitat.
This is particularly apparent in the Euroa
study area and is probably true for many
agricultural areas.
Regular flight paths for bats and birds,
and movement paths for mammals that
may include areas of fragmented and
continuous habitat.
Areas with high density populations of
species vulnerable to entanglement such
as marsupial gliders in the Euroa case
study and fruit bats in north Queensland.
Wetland areas where barbed wire is
exposed above the water level.
Fencing alternatives
For an alternative fencing style to be
adopted, it must be of equal or greater ben-
efit for stock management. Depending on
the farming enterprise, a number of alter-
natives to barbed wire are available:
Plain high-tensile fencing wire, if ten-
sioned correctly, can contain most stock.
When a fence is being constructed with
new materials, consider using multiple
strands of high tensile plain wire or plain
wire and ringlock mesh (but beware
using fine mesh which may also entrap
animals or act as a barrier to movement).
If additional security is required, investi-
gate the option of electric fencing instead
of barbed wire. However, beware of the
potential risk of electrocution of wildlife.
Research Reports
1Guidelines on how to handle bats are given at
the following web address: http://www.bush-
The Victorian Naturalist
If using existing fenceposts, consider
removing the existing strands of barbed
wire and replacing them with plain wire.
In addition, consider adding an electrified
strand to the fence for increased security.
If a plain wire or ringlock mesh option
does not offer sufficient security, an elec-
trified strand is not feasible, and the use
of barbed wire can not be avoided, then
consider avoiding barbed wire on the top
two or three strands of the fence – this
will reduce, but not eliminate the risk. In
high-risk areas, use plain wire or sheath
the barbed wire inside poly-pipe to pro-
tect animals from the barbs.
Design the fence to avoid right angles
where marsupial gliders may cross diago-
nally across the corner (Fig. 3), such as at
the intersection of two road reserves.
This would benefit other wildlife by cre-
ating extra habitat as well as reducing
fencing costs.
Future investigation should consider:
Documenting the extent of the problem
more fully by government agencies and
wildlife rehabilitation organisations
through wildlife databases by specifically
including ‘entanglement with barbed
wire’ as the cause of death.
Investigating alternative fence designs
that contain stock, are cost-effective to
erect and maintain, and do not pose a
threat to wildlife.
Education programs to ensure land man-
agers are aware of the potential risk to
wildlife and are able to identify high risk
areas or ‘hot spots’.
Government agencies and other bodies
providing funds for fencing and revegeta-
tion projects should consider these findings
and encourage the use of non-barbed wire
alternatives as a condition for receiving
funding. This will reduce the amount of
barbed wire fencing being erected, and as
old fences are gradually replaced with non-
barbed wire alternatives, the loss of fauna
to barbed wire fencing will be greatly
This is a contribution from the Landscape
Ecology Research Group, Deakin University.
The financial support of the Holsworth Wildlife
Research Fund is gratefully acknowledged. I
thank the 120 plus people who provided me
with their observations on wildlife mortality
associated with fencing and for discussions
about fencing requirements. Thanks also to the
landholders and residents of the Euroa district
who initially alerted me to the problem and gave
generously of their time and local knowledge. I
thank Andrew Bennett, Jenny Wilson and Sally
Kimber and an anonymous reviewer for com-
ments on the manuscript.
Allen, G.T., and Ramirez, P. (1990). A review of bird
deaths on barbed wire. The Wilson Bulletin 102 (3),
Andrews, A. (1990). Fragmentation of habitat by roads
and utility corridors: a review. Australian Zoologist
26 (3), 3-4.
Anonymous (1996). Wings and prayers. The
Kookaburra. Outdoor Australia August - September,
Bennett, A.F., Brown, G., Lumsden, L., Hespe, D.,
Krasna, S., and Silins, J. (1998). ‘Fragments for the
future. Wildlife in the Victorian Riverina (the
Northern Plains)’. (Department of Natural Resources
and Environment: East Melbourne.)
Campbell, J. (1998). More on fishing line - and another
barbed hazard. Victorian Wader Study Group
Bulletin 22 (July), 59.
Christidis, L., and Boles, W.E. (1994). ‘The taxonomy
and species of birds of Australia and its territories’.
(Royal Australian Ornithologists Union: Melbourne.)
CNR (1995). Threatened Fauna in Victoria.
(Department of Conservation and Natural
Johnson, A. (1995). A real nightmare for little reds.
Newsletter of the Friends of the Far North Flying
Foxes 2(October).
Johnson, A., and Thiriet, D. (1998). Barbed wire fences
and flying foxes don't mix. Animals Today February -
April, 10-11.
Krake, G. (1991). Observation of a dynastid beetle
impaled on barbed wire. Victorian Entomologist 21,
Land For Wildlife (1994). Untitled. Land for Wildlife
News 2(3), 9.
Menkhorst, P.W. (ed.) (1995). ‘Mammals of Victoria:
Distribution, ecology and conservation’. (Oxford
University Press: South Melbourne.)
Nero, R.W. (1993). Northern flying squirrel and red bat
caught on barbed-wire. Blue Jay 51, 215-216.
Platt, S., and Temby, I. (1994). Fencing wildlife habi-
tat. Land for Wildlife Note Number 29, p. 4.
Research Reports
Fig. 3. Fencing diagonally at a 90° corner
reduces the amount of fencing materials
required, provides additional habitat for
wildlife, and potentially minimises the risk of
entanglement by wildlife.
Vol. 116 (6) 1999 217
(Department of Conservation and Natural
Quin, D.G. (1995). Population ecology of the Squirrel
Glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) and the Sugar Glider
(P. breviceps) (Marsupialia, Petauridae) at
Limeburners Creek, on the central north coast of
New South Wales. Wildlife Research 22, 471-505.
Russell, R. (1980). ‘Spotlight on Possums’. (University
of Queensland Press: St Lucia, Queensland.)
Strahan, R. (1983). ‘The Australian Museum Complete
Book of Australian Mammals’. (The Australian
Museum: Sydney.)
Suckling, G.C. (1984). Population ecology of the sugar
glider, Petaurus breviceps, in a system of fragmented
habitats. Australian Wildlife Research 11, 49-75.
Tischendorf, J.W., and Johnson, C.L. (1997). Long-
eared owl snagged on barbed-wire fence. Blue Jay
55, 200.
van der Ree, R. (1997). Barbed wire a hazard to
wildlife. Land for Wildlife News 3(6), 11.
Research Reports
... Os arames farpados são muito utilizados em cercas de demarcações de terras ou delimitações de áreas privadas, contudo, podem causar impactos sobre a fauna, sendo uma ameaça adicional de mortalidade para populações pequenas e isoladas, tendo a possibilidade de ser prejudicial à fauna silvestre a curto e longo prazo (Van der Ree, 1999). No mundo milhares de animais enfrentam todos os anos uma morte cruel por emaranhamento nesses arames oferecendo grande risco à fauna (Maclean, 2006;Breviglieri, 2014). ...
... No mundo milhares de animais enfrentam todos os anos uma morte cruel por emaranhamento nesses arames oferecendo grande risco à fauna (Maclean, 2006;Breviglieri, 2014). Além dos acidentes ocorrentes, dependendo do espaçamento entre as linhas de arame, estas cercas acabam funcionando como barreiras ao fluxo gênico entre populações, já que impedem ou dificultam o deslocamento natural das populações de animais, e assim isolando-as e diminuindo as suas áreas de uso (Ferreira & Martins, 2017;Martínez-Fonseca et al., 2020) De acordo Van Der Ree (1999), são comuns os acidentes com emaranhamento em cercas de arame farpados por diferentes animais na Austrália, e em muitos dos casos, eles acabam resultando em morte. Em sua pesquisa, o autor apresenta registros de diferentes espécies de animais selvagens que acabam sendo vítimas dessas estruturas, tais como, marsupiais planadores, raposas voadoras e diferentes aves. ...
... Diferentes trabalhos relataram casos de emaranhamentos e mortes de morcegos em cercas de arame farpado no Mundo, principalmente na Austrália, onde há relatos para as famílias Pteropodidae, Megadermatidae, Emballonuridae, Hipposideridae, Molossidae e Vespertilionidae (Booth, 2006;Van der Ree, 1999), além do Canadá e Estados Unidos, com registros para espécies da família Vespertilionidae (Iwen, 1958;Wisely, 1978 (Jacomassa et al, 2017). ...
Full-text available
A utilização de cercas de arame farpado é uma prática muito comum em diversas regiões no Mundo, para a delimitação de terras e outros ambientes. Contudo, há um bom tempo, algumas discussões já foram abordadas sobre o perigo que estas cercas causam à fauna, em grupos de animais de pequeno a grande porte, alados ou terrestres, dentre eles, os morcegos. Com isso, o presente trabalho tem como objetivo descrever um registro de morcego encontrado morto emaranhado a uma cerca de arame farpado. Tal incidente aconteceu em uma área rural do município de Chã Grande (8° 13' 57''S , 35° 27' 43''W) no interior do estado de Pernambuco, Nordeste do Brasil. O registro refere-se a um macho adulto de Carollia perspicillata, que estava preso pelo endopatágio. Este foi o primeiro registro desse tipo incidente para a espécie no Brasil. Apesar de não estar ao nosso alcance o controle das armadilhas naturais, é nosso dever buscar alternativas que minimizem tal problema associado as armadilhas antrópicas como cercas e fios, para isso é necessário que haja inicialmente a conscientização para a não utilização de cercas de arame farpado, bem como tomar conhecimento de outros cuidados que podem ser tomados em casos em que a utilização já seja feita, a fim de minimizar os impactos na fauna silvestre. Mesmo que algumas estratégias não sejam totalmente eficientes, muitas delas diminuem os impactos sobre a fauna, protegendo as espécies e garantindo a perpetuação delas.
... For wild animals, the effects are probably more hidden. Even in the research literature about the impact of barbed wire on wildlife, there are few systematic observations on the number of animals being hurt and killed; mostly, it is acknowledging what kind of animals that are getting hurt and how (see Allen and Ramirez 1990;van der Ree 1990;Bevanger and Henriksen 1995, 11). ...
Full-text available
Conflicts have legacies beyond peace treaties and armistices. This article focuses on one example of such an enduring heritage, namely barbed wire left after the Nazi occupation of Norway during World War II. This barbed wire has persisted up to the present day and thus presents a case that can illuminate nuances of a material legacy that is harmful but also an important source of insight and experience of heritage. This involves the incomplete clean up in the postwar years and how the barbed wire continues to pose challenges for present-day and future cultural and natural heritage management. Contemporary archaeology offers insights into the afterlife of war and works as a counterweight to grand historical narratives that mainly focus on the height of armed conflicts.
... Owls are a very active nocturnal predator in the Gaza Strip, they are susceptible to different lesions and injuries and even death when they hit such fences; especially the barbed-wire ones. Injuries and deaths among birds and other wildlife categories were well documented [75][76][77]. Although road kills form a threat to wildlife worldwide, it seems to be of low consideration in the Gaza Strip, particularly for avian wildlife. ...
Full-text available
Birds are among the best-known vertebrate fauna of Palestine. Owls (order Strigiformes) comprise 10 extant species of the 540 bird species occurring in Palestine. The current study comes to give considerable notes on the Palestinian owls encountered in the Gaza Strip. Since 2002, frequent field visits and observations and discussions with local people have been used to determine the bird fauna including owls prevailing in the Gaza Strip. Animal markets, pet shops and zoos were visited as well to study their owl content. Binoculars, guidebooks and digital cameras were vital tools to satisfy the purpose of the study. At least, five species of owls belonging to two families (Tytonidae and Strigidae) were encountered throughout the current study. They were the Barn Owl (Tyto alba), Little Owl (Athene noctua), Long-eared Owl (Asio otus), European Scops Owl (Otus scops) and Eurasian Eagle Owl (Bubo bubo). This number may increase in the future, as new numbers of birds are added to the Gaza birds list annually. The Barn Owl was and is still the commonest owl species prevailing in all environments of the Gaza Strip, especially those close to dwellings and human activities. However, it was the most captive owl species in zoos, animal markets and pet shops. In terms of size, the Eurasian Eagle Owl is the biggest, while the European Scops Owl is the smallest. The threats facing owls in the Gaza Strip include habitat loss and destruction, poaching and trapping, myths and superstitions, secondary poisoning, road kills and fences of agricultural lands. Finally, the study recommends the raise of ecological awareness among Gazans and application of protection measures including nesting boxes in order to sustainably conserve the owl species and their significant ecological role in the Gaza Strip. Keywords: Bird fauna; Strigiformes; Owls; Barn Owl; Threats; Gaza Strip
... Lower visual acuity and flying at night could, however, increase the risk of mortality arising from anthropogenic obstacles, such as fences, that are immobile and low contrast 38 . This is likely one of the primary reasons that owls and other nocturnal birds frequently become entangled on barbed-wire fences [39][40][41] . A survey of bird casualties due to barbed-wire fencing in Diamantina National Park, where Night Parrots also occur 42 , revealed that at least half of the species entangled are nocturnal or active at dusk 43 . ...
Full-text available
The Night Parrot (Pezoporus occidentalis) is a rare, nocturnal parrot species that has largely escaped scientific investigation due to its behaviour and habitat preferences. Recent field studies have revealed some insights into Night Parrot behaviour, but nothing is known of its sensory abilities. Here, we used μCT scans of an intact Night Parrot specimen to determine if its visual system shares similarities with other nocturnal species. The endocast of the Night Parrot revealed relatively small optic lobes and optic foramina, especially compared with closely related grass parakeets, but no apparent differences in orbit dimensions. Our data suggests that the Night Parrot likely has lower visual acuity than most other parrots, including its congener, the Eastern Ground Parrot (P. wallicus). We propose that the visual system of the Night Parrot might represent a compromise between the need to see under low light conditions and the visual acuity required to detect predators, forage, and fly. Based on the endocast and optic foramen measurements, the Night Parrot fits into a common pattern of decreased retinal input to the optic lobes in birds that should be explored more thoroughly in extant and extinct species.
... Genel olarak, su kuşları, gece kuşları ve yırtıcı kuşların dikenli tellerden daha çok etkilendiği gördüğü görülmektedir. Tüm dikenli tel kullanımları dikkate alındığında kuş ölümlerinin % 95 oranında standart yükseklikteki tarım alanı etrafındaki dikenli tellerde meydana geldi belirlenmiştir (Ree, 1999). ...
Full-text available
Biyolojik çeşitliliğin önemli parçası olan kuşlar hem yerel yaşam alanlarında hem de göç esnasında birçok farklı etmen tarafından tehdit edilmektedir. Bu etmenler sebebi ile bazı kuş türlerinin popülasyonları azalırken bazı türlerde küresel ölçekli azalmalar görülmektedir. Bu çalışma ile küresel ölçekli olarak kuşları tehdit eden etmenler derlenmiş ve elde edilen sonuçlar doğrultusunda alınabilecek önlemler hakkında öneriler yapılmıştır. Araştırmalar sonucunda kuşları tehdit eden faktörler doğal düşmanlar, iklim şartları, doğal afetler ve insanlar olarak sıralanmıştır. Bu faktörlerden en tehlikelisinin insan olduğu ve kuşları korumak için insan kaynaklı faktörlerin azaltılmasının en etkili yol olduğu vurgulanmıştır.
... McKillop and Wilson 1987, McKillop and Sibly 1988, Lund and DeSilva 1994. These unintended impacts can include limiting movements of non-target species and animals becoming entangled in fences (Burger and Branch 1994, Lund and De Silva 1994, Van der Ree 1999, Long and Robley 2004, Hayward and Kerley 2009, Ferronato et al. 2014. By limiting movement, barrier fences can prevent breeding between animals on either side of the fence Williamson 2009, Linnell 2016), block routes us by seasonally migrating animals (Hailey and DeArment 1969, Johnson 2006b, Russell and Cohn 2012, Bradby et al. 2014, Madani et al. 2016. ...
1. The only breeding population of the endangered Florida panther Puma concolor coryi is restricted to <5% of its historic range in South Florida, but this area may be at carrying capacity and three viable populations within the historic range are needed for species recovery. The number of utility-scale solar energy (USSE) facility installations is increasing rapidly throughout Florida, and while important in combatting carbon emissions and climate change, they pose additional threats to Florida panther habitat and dispersal corridors. 2. We compared Florida panther habitat suitability and connectivity pre-and post-installation of 45 USSE facilities within Peninsular Florida using random forest to predict probability of presence in 1 km 2 cells and circuit theory (Circuitscape 4.0) to predict movement probability between the areas of suitable habitat. 3. We found that most often solar facilities were installed on grasslands and pastures (45.7% of total area replaced by solar facilities) and agricultural lands (34.9%). Forest was the third most impacted land cover category (13.2%). Probability of presence in the 351 impacted cells decreased by 0.03. 4. The major changes in current density occurred within the cells overlapped by the facilities and within their vicinity. Post-installation effective resistance between core areas increased by 0.07%. 5. Nine facilities were located within major corridors connecting the only breeding population with other areas with the potential to support populations of Florida panther, 26 facilities were located within lesser current density areas that maintain some dispersal capacity and six facilities had no, or very minimal, potential expected impact on connectivity (four were excluded from the analysis). 6. Our findings suggest a substantial bias in the locating of USSE facilities within rural and undeveloped lands that may provide connectivity sufficient for Florida panther dispersal to habitat suitable for population establishment. Our research is the first study documenting the effect of USSE facilities on both habitat suit-ability and regional-scale connectivity of suitable habitat for any large carnivore. 7. Synthesis and applications. Current permitting review methodologies resulting in USSE (utility-scale solar energy) facilities installation approval may be inadequate , and facility siting should consider landscape-level connectivity in addition to environmental impacts within facility boundaries.
Full-text available
Injured flying-foxes (Pteropus spp.) are frequently taken into care in eastern Australia. In particular, the grey-headed flying-fox (P. poliocephalus), a vulnerable species, is affected by several threats, which are partly mitigated through rescue and rehabilitation. This study examined patterns in flying-fox rescues in New South Wales (NSW) between 2011–12 and 2016–17 using annual reporting data from wildlife rehabilitation organisations. Specifically, we examined (1) species and demographic patterns in flying-foxes rescues; (2) the geographical distribution of flying-fox rescues; (3) reported causes of injury; and (4) release rates of rehabilitated flying-foxes. P. poliocephalus accounted for the largest proportion of flying-fox rescues. Most rescues occurred in coastal regions, with more than one-third of P. poliocephalus rescues occurring in the Sydney region and more than one-third of black (P. alecto) and little red (P. scapulatus) flying-fox rescues occurring on the NSW Far North Coast. A broad range of factors was involved in flying-foxes coming into care, the main ones being entanglements, heat stress, orphaned pups and electrocutions. Release rates of rehabilitated flying-foxes were high, especially in pups and juveniles. These results demonstrate the potential conservation value of flying-fox rehabilitation. High proportions of injuries caused by entanglements, heat stress and electrocutions highlight the importance of ongoing threat mitigation efforts.
Exclusion fencing is a common tool used to mitigate a variety of unwanted economic losses caused by problematic wildlife. While the potential for agricultural, ecological and economic benefits of pest animal exclusion are often apparent, what is less clear are the costs and benefits to sympatric non‐target wildlife. This review examines the use of exclusion fencing in a variety of situations around the world to elucidate the potential outcomes of such fencing for wildlife and apply this knowledge to the recent uptake of exclusion fencing on livestock properties in the Australian rangelands. In Australia, exclusion fences are used to eliminate dingo (Canis familiaris dingo ) predation on livestock, prevent crop‐raiding by emus (Dromaius novaehollandiae ), and enable greater control over total grazing pressure through the reduction of macropods (Macropodidae) and feral goats (Capra hircus ). A total of 208 journal articles were examined for location, a broad grouping of fence type, and the reported effects the fence was having on the study species. We found 51% of the literature solely discusses intended fencing effects, 42% discusses unintended effects, and only 7% considers both. Africa has the highest proportion of unintended effects literature (52.0%) and Australia has the largest proportion of literature on intended effects (34.2%). We highlight the potential for exclusion fencing to have positive effects on some species and negative effects on others (such as predator exclusion fencing posing a barrier to migration of other species), which remain largely unaddressed in current exclusion fencing systems. From this review we were able to identify where and how mitigation strategies have been successfully used in the past. Harnessing the potential benefits of exclusion fencing while avoiding the otherwise likely costs to both target and non‐target species will require more careful consideration than this issue has previously been afforded.
Full-text available
Key threatening processes to biodiversity include habitat loss and fragmentation, with populations restricted to small fragments of habitat being more prone to extinction. The mahogany glider (Petaurus gracilis) is endemic to sclerophyll woodland forests between Tully and Ingham in north Queensland and is one of Australia’s most endangered arboreal mammals due to these processes. The aim of this study was to identify the degree of habitat fragmentation of the remaining remnant vegetation of the mahogany glider, identify subpopulations within its distribution and identify key wildlife corridors for restoration to facilitate the movement of this species within and between subpopulations. Ten glider subpopulations, spread over 998 habitat fragments, were identified, of which only five subpopulations may currently be considered to be viable. To assist in providing habitat connectivity between and within the subpopulations, 55 corridors were identified for restoration that had an average length of 8.25 km. The average number of gaps greater than 30 m was 3.4 per corridor, with the average length of these gaps being 523 m. This study confirmed a high degree of habitat fragmentation across the distribution of the mahogany glider and highlighted the need to strengthen the remaining subpopulations by restoring habitat connectivity between the remaining habitat fragments.
This review examines the ecol&cal effects of roads and utility corridors such as powerlines, pipelines, canals and raihvay l i e s on undisturbed h a b i i and native wildlife. Public concern about roads in natural areas is increasing, as shown by the public protests against forest roads in the Central Highlands of Victoria and the IYational Estate areas in the south-east forests of New South Wales. The Daintree Road through Queensland's tropical rainforest created an international protest and remains Australia's most notorious road. The original Very Fast Train (VFT) proposal favoured a route which would have divided the two major wilderness areas of the Giipsland forests in Victoria by creating a fenced impenetrable barrier to some wildlife. Planning authorities need to address the anpacts of hagmentation of natural h a b i i by such developments. Although it is diflicult to draw conclusions from a comparison of studies covering m e r e n t countries* species and habits, areas of concern for wildlife consewation and management emerge, including increased mortal@, divided populations and invasions of common species. There is a need for studies on the effects of these linear e c t s on Australian wildlife.
The population ecology of the sugar glider, Petaurus breviceps, was examined during a 31-month capture-mark-recapture study in a 20-ha system of remnant native vegetation in farmland. Overall population densities ranged from 6.1 ha- 1 in autumn to 2.9 ha- 1 in summer. However, the various areas composing the system had different management histories and were found to contain varying densities of P. breviceps. Differences in density were most readily explained by differences in abundance of black wattles, Acacia mearnsii, which provided an important autumn and winter food source. At least 75% of animals lived in groups containing up to seven adults from up to four age-classes (usually three males and four females). There was a single breeding season beginning in late winter or early spring each year; at least 80% of female P. breviceps surviving to the breeding season following their birth produced young, and almost all adult females in other age classes bred in any year. Of all litters born in the study site, 81% were twins, and the remainder were of single young. The overall mean litter size was 1.8. Up to 50% of all offspring left their group of origin by the beginning of the breeding season following their birth, though some older gliders. apparently unattached to any group, also dispersed. A roadside strip of forest, between one and four trees wide, was found to facilitate dispersal into a vacant habitat within the system studied.
The population ecology of the squirrel glider (Petaurus norfolcensis) and the sugar glider (P. breviceps) was studied at Limeburners Creek Nature Reserve, on the central north coast of New South Wales. The study was undertaken between July 1986 and November 1988. Sugar and squirrel gliders at Limeburners Creek exhibited similar home-range sizes (2.54 ha) despite considerable differences in mean mass between the species (squirrel glider 192-213 g; sugar glider, 104-119 g). Squirrel gliders existed at higher densities (049-1.54 ha-') than did sugar gliders (0.24454 ha-') and populations of both species exhibited male-biased sex ratios. The timing of births was not consistent between years and, at least in the squirrel glider, occurred in almost all months of the year over the 2.5-year study. Usually a winter peak in births that extended into spring was apparent, sometimes following an autumn peak. Mean litter size for both species (1.8-1.9) was similar to that recorded for the sugar glider in Victoria. Most adult females of both species exhibited the capacity to raise two litters in a year. Hence, natality rates (2.3-2.4 young per year) at Limeburners Creek were high relative to those recorded for the sugar glider in Victoria. Recruit persistence time (3.0-3.5 seasons) was similar between the species and recruitment appeared to be most successful during years when heavy eucalypt and Banksia flowering was recorded. Populations of both species were characterised by high rates of juvenile dispersal and mortality. Young gliders dispersed at a mean age of 10.9 and 12.5 months in the sugar glider and the squirrel glider, respecti~e1y;SquirreI gliders nested in colonies of 2-Bindividuals. Usually at least one male and two females nested together, suggesting a polygynous mating strategy. The mating system of the sugar glider at Limebumers Creek was less clear, but colonies appeared to comprise at least monogamous pairs with or without a surplus of males. Sugar glider colonies at Limebumers Creek varied in size from two to seven individuals. The larger squirrel gliders were clearly dominant to the smaller sugar gliders in interspecific behavioural interactions. Inconsistencies in body-weight fluctuations between years for both species were thought to be a consequence of the unpredictable nature of the aseasonal, coastal climates and resulting food resource abundances.
A review of bird deaths on barbed wire
  • G T Allen
  • P Ramirez
Allen, G.T., and Ramirez, P. (1990). A review of bird deaths on barbed wire. The Wilson Bulletin 102 (3), 553-558.
Wings and prayers. The Kookaburra. Outdoor Australia
  • Anonymous
Anonymous (1996). Wings and prayers. The Kookaburra. Outdoor Australia August -September, 23-24.