A SANCTUARY Point man has called on energy providers Endeavor and Origin Energy to install safety barriers on power poles after a mother possum and its joey were electrocuted on powerlines.
Adam Donovan, who lives in Waratah Crescent, had befriended and fed the mother and baby and other native animals including birds but was saddened to see the pair dangling dead from powerline on Tuesday morning.
“I have possum boxes installed in my place and put out food for the possums and birds,” he said.
“Many of my neighbours and their children also feed the animals.
“It was distressing to come out Tuesday morning and just see them hanging from the powerlines dead.”
A visibly upset Mr Donovan said there should be something the electrical companies can do to try and stop this sort of thing happening.
“I had to fight back the tears,” he said.
“I previously contacted Origin Energy, who sends me my bills, and asked about what could be done.
“I asked if they could put up some sort of guard around the power pole to stop the possums climbing up.
“But nothing happened.”
Mr Donovan said he again contacted the company on Tuesday morning after the deaths and said the company again didn’t seem interested.
“They came out and removed the possums but the bloke I spoke to on the phone didn’t sound interested at all,” he said.
“I’m hearing this sort of thing is happening all around the place.”
Mr Donovan said he was willing to put his own guard in place on the power pole to ensure the safety of native animals.
“But I shouldn’t have too. It is something the energy companies should do,” he said.
Endeavour Energy, which is responsible for the power poles and lines, said it would not be feasible to place guards on all the power and street light columns across its network.
“The network spans 24,800 kilometres and is made up of 416,000 power and street light columns connected by more than 35,000 kilometres of electricity cables (about the distance from Sydney to London and back),” the spokesperson said.
“Possums live right across Endeavour Energy’s network area and many happily use it to move around without any harm.
“As possums are great climbers it is not feasible to put in place guards to prevent them from accessing power poles as there are multiple places of entry.
“For example possums can not only climb power poles, but can jump onto power lines from trees, roofs and fences.”
The spokesperson said Endeavour Energy was responsible for the safe and reliable supply of electricity to 2.2 million people in households and businesses across Sydney’s Greater West, the Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands, the Illawarra and the South Coast.
Wildlife Rescue South Coast president Richard Woodman said while the community needed to be encouraged to take notice of native wildlife, they should not feed native animals.
“Our wildlife are national treasures,” he said “and they need to be kept for further generations to enjoy. But people should not be feeding native wildlife or birds.
“This chap should be congratulated, as should anyone in the community who cares for animals, they should be applauded. It is dreadful that something like this happens but perhaps it is an underlying example of why not to feed native animals.”
He said all wildlife in NSW was protected by law and could only be contained by people who were licenced.
“That means places like zoos, refuges or wildlife rescue organisations. Animals are only brought into care if they need rehabilitation and they must be released.”
He encouraged anyone who came across an injured native animal that needs to be brought into care to contact Wildlife Rescue South Coast on 0418 427214.