Besides being incredibly cute, flying foxes play an essential role in the Australian ecosystem. They feast on nectar, pollen and fruit, and their eating habits help regenerate forests and distribute pollination. In fact, flying foxes are considered "keystone" species because so many animals and plants depend on their survival and well-being. There are four main species of flying fox in mainland Australia - black, grey-headed, spectacled and little red. Finny is a grey-headed flying fox, which is listed as a threatened species in Victoria.
Unfortunately, flying fox populations have been rapidly declining in recent years, with some species experiencing 95 percent losses in the past 30 years. The causes include habitat destruction, disturbance, starvation, increased heat events, and illegal and legal shootings, as well as entanglements in barbed wire, power lines and backyard fruit tree nets.
"While Finny's entanglement was a little unusual," Hidge explains, "we mainly receive reports when they are tangled up in netting loosely thrown over fruit trees. The poor things don't see the netting as they are flying over at night and get themselves all tangled up, often ending up with fatal injuries."
To watch Finny's full rescue, check out this video.