A SHARP increase in endangered flying foxes caught in netting in Darebin has prompted wildlife organisations to call on retailers to stop selling it.
Last Wednesday the Leader watched Wildlife Victoria's Amy Amato and Julie Malherbe free a distressed flying fox and a rosella parrot from netting over a fig tree in a Northcote backyard.
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The flying fox had a broken bone in its wing.
The parrot survived relatively unscathed.
Wildlife Victoria's figures show 82 flying foxes many in suburbs like Northcote, Fairfield and Preston, close to their Yarra Bend Park colony have become entangled so far this summer, compared with 37 last year.
"We've had to put most of them to sleep after they've been rescued because when they twist around trying to free themselves they break bones in their wings and get mouth injuries that are hard to rehabilitate," Ms Amato said.
"We urge everyone to stop using any netting that has holes big enough that you can put your finger through, no matter if it's white or back.
"We want the big retailers such as Bunnings to stop selling it."
Bunnings National Landscape Buyer Trent Emmins said while the company made "no claim to be perfect", it was committed to working with all parties on product alternatives to assist customers protect their fruit and vegetables without causing harm to wildlife.
He said the company had recently introduced the crop protection close-knit range and fruit socks as an alternative to netting.