Pest Animals

Pest Animal Management Plan

Our current Feral Animal Management Plan(PDF, 370KB) is being reviewed. To help develop the new Pest Animal Management Plan 2018-23, we want to work with people affected by the impact of pest animals.

We are engaging with the community to gather the information to inform our Plan.

Find out what the Community has said so far

Pest animals

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

Rabbits, pigs and wild dogs are declared pest species and must be continuously controlled. These pests pose a high cost to agriculture in terms of lost production and spread of exotic diseases. They also cause 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. 

Who's responsible?

The control of pest animals on private land in NSW is the responsibility of the owner or occupier of the land.

Choosing the right control tool 

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 
• aversion techniques (such as lights, alarms, and flagging).

Each tool varies in its effectiveness, depending on a range of factors specific to the location. The use of many control tools is also subject to various laws and regulations. 

In most 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. 

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

Need Assistance?

North Coast Local Land Services: 

  • Provides advice with eradicating declared pest species
  • Coordinates management plans to control vertebrate pests
  • Inspects properties for declared pests and helps you to develop a plan to control pest populations
  • Provides advice on controlling nuisance animals – either through group baiting programs (organised with your neighbours) or individual control methods
  • Helps people obtain suitable control options
  • Provides FREE 1080 pest control course valid for five years.

The four-hour 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 02 6623 3900

Feral Scan

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.

Wild Dogs

Call Council's Biodiversity Officer on 02 6626 7324 to report sightings of pest animals, including wild dogs. This information is recorded to inform the management of pest animals in the Shire.  

Wild dog refers to any dog living in the wild, including feral dogs, dingoes and hybrids of the two.

Dingo Conservation Areas

To balance the need to control wild dogs with the conservation of dingoes, the North Coast Region Wild Dog Management Plan is in place for certain lands in the Shire, including:

• Mt Jerusalem
• Goonengerry
• Nightcap National Park 
• Whian Whian State Conservation Area.

Cane Toads

Cane toads were introduced to Byron Bay between 1964 and 1966, supposedly to control garden insects. The toads moved throughout the Shire at an average rate of 1.07 km per year. Toads moving down from Queensland, through the Tweed Shire, arrived in the north of the shire in the late 1970’s.

Why cane toads are a threat

Cane toads:

  • Are poisonous at all stages of life from eggs to adultsToads have had a severe impact on snakes, lizards and other native animals that try to feed on them.
  • Can eat very large quantities of prey. The main dietary items consumed by cane toads are insects and this includes rainforest snails and many ground beetles. A toad in Whian Whian was found to have eaten 24 rainforest snails and another juvenile toad had eaten 270 flying ants in one evening. Toads also occasionally eat vertebrates such as ground nesting hatchlings and eggs, frogs and even small mammals.
  • Compete with native animals for food and habitat.
  • Are poisonous to pets and many pet dogs have died after eating cane toads. The poison also affects humans and there have been reported eye injuries caused by a cane toad squirting poison following an impact..

What you can do to help control cane toads

There are a number of steps you can take to help control cane toads.

  • Toad-proof your dam or ponds
  • Notify Council if you see tadpoles or toad eggs on public sites
  • Learn how to identify toads correctly so you can catch toads and collect toad eggs on your own property
  • Join a toad muster group
  • Keep pet food and water out of reach of cane toads
  • Keep food scraps out of reach of cane toads
  • Plant native gardens rather than short-mown lawns to deter toads who prefer short grass
  • Turn off outside lights when not in use as toads congregate under lamps to eat insects attracted to the light.

 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. In New South Wales more than 350 species, populations and communities are considered to be threatened by the impacts of pest animals.

Local Land Services Act 2013

Rural Lands Protection Act 1998.