It’s a common problem that most Australians are largely unaware of, but RSPCA is continuing to receive a steady flow of calls to help wildlife caught in home sporting equipment.
Last week Yahoo News Australia reported on the issue, warning clubs and homeowners to pack up goal nets, but on Tuesday morning it happened again.
Rescuer Amy Taylforth was called out to a Brisbane home after a brushtail possum became caught in a soccer net overnight. Images show the scared animal with the net tightly wrapped around the base of its body.
The homeowner was afraid of the possum, and was quite unsure about how she would have untangled him without help. “People don't realise until it happens to them,” Ms Taylforth told Yahoo News Australia.
“It happens so frequently, unfortunately,” she said, before adding that netball and basketball nets are also a problem. Just two weeks ago, she was called to help a magpie trapped in another net.
How you can help wildlife in your backyard
By the time rescuers are called the animal has usually been trapped overnight, and while they will do everything they can to rehabilitate the animal, sometimes they suffer mortal wounds.
Ms Taylforth immediately sedated the possum to reduce its stress, allowing her to remove it from the net. Unfortunately, when he was assessed by a vet, they found a fracture in the base of its tail, an appendage it relies on to navigate trees.
Sadly the possum was found to be in poor condition and very skinny, leading medical staff to make the decision to euthanise him. “It’s hard, but at least we’ve stopped him from suffering,” Ms Taylforth said.
If you have a sporting net at home, it’s ideal that it’s packed up and taken in at night. If that’s not possible then Ms Taylforth has some advice, “People need to maintain them so that animals have a low risk of getting stuck. They also need to be kept taut so they don’t get caught trying to climb up them.”
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