RSPCA urges public to tidy garden netting

The RSPCA has warned the public to tidy up loose and damaged netting, as recent cases have shown that it poses a threat to birds and other wildlife.

With the World Cup at a close and the final set finished at Wimbledon, the RSPCA are urging members of the public to take the lead from their sporting heroes and tidy away their nets. Each year around 2,000 reports are made to the RSPCA about wild birds and other wildlife trapped in or behind netting, and this year is no different. Discarded fishing nets, unkempt bird-deterrent nets and goal nets that have been left up are just some of the hazards posed to wildlife, especially during summer when people are using them for holiday games and sports.

RSPCA scientific officer Llewelyn Lowen said: “Netting that is not maintained, repaired and tended to regularly enough poses a serious threat to wildlife. The same also stands for sports nets that are not tidied away when they are not in use. When netting is blown away it can quickly entangle birds and mammals, causing them distress and injury.

“All nets pose a real hazard to our wildlife, and sadly we get too many calls to injured wild animals that are trapped in them. There is a really simple way to prevent this from happening, and that is for nets to be removed after use and safely stored away. When we attend a call where a wild animal has died in netting, it is tragic and entirely preventable.

“We would ask people who use deterrent netting on buildings to ensure that it is maintained, and that netting in goals or elsewhere is rolled away properly when not in use. Members of the public can also help by safely disposing of litter, such as netting that they find littering both rural and urban areas.

“Garden netting or chicken wire should never be used as building deterrent netting, and owners could consider enclosures using weld-mesh around pens and enclosures, as this is harder for Foxes to get into and less likely to entangle them or other wild animals such as Hedgehogs.”

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