RSPCA Cymru is renewing its warning about the dangers to wildlife of netting as figures reveal more than 100 incidents in Wales were reported to the charity last year.

In 2022, the RSPCA took a total 1,798 calls - with 105 these from Wales - relating to all species of animals which had become entangled in netting.

Across England and Wales, 315 of these calls related to wild mammals and included 167 foxes and 62 hedgehogs.

Cardiff had the most reports across Wales last year with 27, with Denbighshire next with 22, and then Conwy with 13.


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RSPCA Cymru is now hoping to spread the message about the dangers that everyday netting - from roof netting to football goals - pose to the wildlife in communities.

This time of year is the busiest for the charity when it comes to animals caught in netting - so it fears another influx of calls is coming without community action.

Putting netting away after use to prevent wild animals getting entangled is just one of the many things volunteers can do to help native wildlife.

RSPCA scientific officer, Evie Button, said “It’s really important that people understand how lethal football netting can be and how often these incidents happen - particularly at this time of year, when the curiosity of young, inexperienced animals gets them into potentially deadly situations.

“We’re urging the public to help us spread the message -  remember to put your sports netting away after use and never leave it unmonitored, particularly overnight.”

The RSPCA also receives countless reports about wild birds trapped in or behind netting from roofs and bridges -  with a large number of these involving bird-deterrent netting.

Evie added: “Problems arise when netting is put up incorrectly or becomes damaged, leaving gaps where birds can enter and become trapped, leaving them susceptible to a long and painful death from injury or starvation.

“Unfortunately, bird-deterrent netting is often fixed in high or hard-to-reach areas, making the rescue of trapped animals difficult and dangerous.

“We would urge businesses and those who use netting as a deterrent to ensure the netting is kept well maintained with no gaps that can lead to birds entering.

“Getting tangled up in netting is very stressful for an animal. And if the animal gets seriously entangled, netting can cause severe injuries or - as seen recently - even death.

“As wild animals frequently get trapped during the night, they may have been struggling for many hours by the time they are found and often need veterinary attention and sedation to cut them free.”

For advice on what to do if you see a wild animal in distress, please visit the RSPCA’s website.