Back to Information SheetsA Guide To
Vegetation & Animal Conservation

The conservation of wildlife habitat, breeding sites for birds and native mammals and new tree and shrub plantings is central to the overall objectives of environmentally minded people.

All these things are difficult to do and strategies are constantly being devised to make these objectives both easier and more achievable. As with so many things a little lateral thinking can lead to breakthroughs.

Electranets Masterfence has long been a valued tool for farmers who wish to protect their crops from livestock, both domestic and wild, and who also need to protect their own livestock from predation. It really isn't too big a leap to a realisation that this type of fencing is just as effective for protecting the nesting and breeding sites of native mammals and birds from the ravages of dogs, cats and feral pigs and new plantings of trees and shrubs from hungry herbivores.

What is Masterfence? It is a technologically advanced, cost effective system of flexible electric netting which can be energised in three different ways to provide a pain filled barrier. The technological breakthrough is the bipolar nature of the fence - that is it can be energised so that each alternating wire can be either positive or negative and that it works well under dry or even arid conditions which were previously thought to be impossible to electric fence because of poor earthing conditions. Any animal which comes in contact with two or more of the horizontal wires in the fence receives the full impact which may be as high as 6000-7000 volts. Not deadly but definitely very painful. The Pavlovian response to this shock is to avoid the fence.

Masterfence is flexible and light. A fifty metre length can be folded into a bundle which can easily be carried under the arm. It is self contained in that its posts are integral in the fence and it requires no special knowledge of electricity or fencing to make it work effectively. Flexibility also ensures that should any animal try to push under it the fence will "give" and pull down onto the beast and inflict the full force of the energiser. Its flexibility also makes it impossible for climbing animals - cats and possums in particular - to scale it. It costs no more than a roll of standard sheep fencing and is far more cost effective than elaborate systems of fixed fencing with electric fence out-riggers. It can be used in unmanned remote locations with solar powered batteries and energisers.

Masterfence has a proven track record in the field with properly maintained fence lasting for 10 or more years. In an unmanned situation precautions need to be taken to ensure that the fence does not "short out" on vegetation which grows up under it. An occasional narrow band of herbicide is probably the simplest solution but other non-toxic solutions can be used and have proved effective and there is no substitute for the occasional visual check of the fence.

In the farming sector Masterfence has been effective in many different ways. It has successfully protected free range poultry from foxes, feral dogs and cats, dingoes and wild pigs. It has made lambing enclosures safe from the incursions of predators, allowed orchardists to graze their inter-tree rows with a variety of herbivores, and protected fruit trees from large numbers of possums which can eat both flowers and pollen and then fruit. Isolated field crops from domestic and wild herbivores and allowed domestic cattle and sheep to have selective grazing access to vegetation. The examples go on and on. It is clear that if we transpose these farming examples into the conservation context we have a new, powerful and cost effective tool for the conservation of wildlife habitat, breeding sites for birds and native mammals and new tree and shrub plantings.

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