Why’s the fence floppy?
At first glance, our perimeter fence looks like it needs fixing. At the bottom it’s straight and strong, but at the top it curls over on itself – It’s floppy! That is exactly how this purpose-built fence is supposed to look.
Arid Recovery’s tried and tested floppy fence design is its best defence against feral cats, foxes and rabbits, and is vital to the survival of all of our threatened species.
The fence was designed through trial and error. Cats and foxes were repeatedly released into a trial fenced area and the fence was modified until they were unable to escape.
The result was a 1.8 metre fence with foot netting along the bottom and a floppy overhang at the top. Foxes can’t get under it, and cats attempting to climb up and over the fence will attempt to pounce on the floppy top, which then flops down and flings them back to the ground.
Arid Recovery’s original 14km2 fenced area, where native animals were first introduced, is surrounded by a 1.8m tall fence and has two electric wires running around it.
However, the floppy top proved so effective that the fences around the perimeter of the subsequent first, second and northern expansions were only built 1.15m tall and were not electrified.
MaintenanceRegular checks are made to look for fence damage, with checks after major storms particularly important as strong winds can blow the floppy top inwards and heavy rain can cause washouts, which may allow feral animals to penetrate.
Damage to the fence can also be caused by fighting red kangaroos, who can pop the layers of mesh open at kicking height.
Despite our best efforts to maintain the fence, feral cats are intelligent, and over time may learn how to breach the floppy top or take advantage of any temporary weak points. To prevent this, permanent traps have been set up around the fence perimeter and a team of volunteer shooters go out regularly to reduce introduced predators around the reserve.