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Pest Animals

Under the Local Land Services Act 2013 all land managers in NSW, whether on public or private land, have an obligation to control declared pest species on their land. Further, the control of pest animals on private land in NSW is the responsibility of the owner/occupier under the Rural Lands Protection Act 1998.

There are 3 declared species being rabbits, pigs and wild dogs that must be continuously controlled.  These pests cost agriculture money in terms of  lost production and infection of exotic diseases whilst also causing irreversible damage to the environment.

Red foxes and wild cats are classed as nuisance animals in NSW and while there is no obligation for a landholder to control these species, they are recognised as a significant threat to biodiversity.

Pest animals, including wild dogs and cats and foxes can have a significant impact on livestock and wildlife by predation, competition for food and shelter, destroying habitat, and by spreading diseases

In Australia, pest animals typically have few natural predators or fatal diseases and high reproductive rates. As a result, they have a high survival rate and can form large populations, often to the detriment of native species.

Wild Dogs

Wild dog refers to any dog living in the wild, including feral dogs (Canis lupus familiaris), dingoes (Canis dingo), and hybrids of the two.

Schedule 2 - Dingo Conservation Areas

To balance the need to control wild dogs with the conservation of dingoes, Pest Control Order 17 allows the general destruction obligation for lands listed under Schedule 2 of the Order to be satisfied through the preparation of a Wild Dog Management Plan. Wild Dog Management Plans for these areas include both control and conservation objectives. Schedule 2 areas in Byron Shire include Mt Jerusalem, Goonengerry and Nightcap National Park and Whian Whian State Conservation Area. 

Tools to control wild dogs

There are a variety of different lethal and non-lethal tools available to control wild dogs. These include poison baits, soft jaw traps, shooting, fencing, guard animals and aversion techniques (such as lights, alarms, and flagging).

Not all tools are useful for a given area; each tool varies in its effectiveness, depending on a range of factors specific to the local situation. The use of many control tools is also subject to various laws and regulations. 

In nearly all pest animal management situations a combination of management options is generally proven to be the most  efficient, effective and cost-effective approach to managing the target pest animal species. 

Choosing the right control tool 

Click here to find out about the advantages and disadvantages of each available control tool.

Need Assistance?

North Coast Local Land Services: 

  • provide advice with eradicating declared pest species
  • coordinate management plans to control vertebrate pests
  • inspect properties for declared pests and help you to develop a plan to control pest populations
  • provide advice on controlling nuisance animals – either through group baiting programs (organised with your neighbours) or individual control methods
  • help you obtain suitable control options
  • provide FREE 1080 pest control course valid for 5-years. The 4-hr course aims to ensure that 1080 pest animal bait users have the knowledge, skills and appropriate competencies to use 1080 pest animal bait products in a manner which is both safe for themselves and the environment. The course also seeks to ensure that bait users understand that the use of 1080 pest animal bait products is only one element of an integrated pest animal management strategy.

For further information, contact North Coast Local Land Services on 6623 3900.

Red Fox

The European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) has a natural distribution across the continents of Europe, Asia and North America. Foxes were deliberately introduced into Australia in the 1850’s for recreational hunting. A range of characteristics combine to make the fox an extremely successful invasive animal including having a wide dietary range, few serious diseases, few natural enemies, a high reproductive rate and a high rate of cub survival. Foxes have been implicated in the extinction of a number of native animals. 

Wild Cats

Wild cats (Felis catus) were introduced to Australia early during European settlement and were established in the wild by 1850. Intentional releases were made in the late 1800s in the hope that cats would control rabbits, rats and mice. Wild cats are now found in most habitats on the mainland, Tasmania and many offshore islands. Wild cats pose a threat to more native species than any other pest animal or weed.

Feral Animal Management Plan

Council has prepared a Feral Animal Management Plan which outlines how it will work in collaboration with land managers and agencies to undertake control programs. 

Sightings of pest animals, including wild dogs, can be reported to Council's Biodiversity Officer on 6626 7324. This information is recorded to inform the management of pest animals in the Shire. 

Further reading and resources 

NSW Department of Environment and Heritage 

Department of Primary Industries 

North Coast Local Land Services

Invasive Animal CRC - Australia’s largest integrated invasive animal research program. Invasive Animal CRC estimates that pest animals cost Australia approximately $720 million per year, but could be much more. Within New South Wales, more than 350 species, populations and communities are considered to be threatened by the impacts of pest animals.

FeralScan – is a free community website and Smartphone App that allows you to map sightings of pest animals and record the problems they are causing in your local area. FeralScan can be used by farmers, community groups, pest controllers, local government, catchment groups and individuals managing pest animals and their impacts.