Pest animals

Pest Animal Management Plan

The current Byron Shire Council Feral Animal Management Plan(PDF, 370KB) is being reviewed.  

We are preparing a new Pest Animal Management Plan in accordance with the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and Local Land Services Act 2013 and consultation with the community, to manage pest animals in our Shire. 

The draft plan was available for public comment for 6 weeks until 21 September 2018.

Submissions are currently being assessed and are scheduled to be reported to Council early 2019.

View the draft plan

Access to the draft plan is available in hard copy or at the ‘self-help’ kiosks in the foyer at Byron Shire Council’s Customer Service Centre, Mullumbimby.

Pest animals

The risk of invasion by non-native organisms is accelerating with human population growth and globalisation. Despite good quarantine services in Australia, expansion of trade has seen increases in both the purposeful and accidental introduction of pest animals. The resulting negative impacts are regarded as second only to activities associated with human population growth.

Pest animals are a significant threat to biodiversity and agricultural productivity and have the ability to impact human lifestyle and health e.g. acute and chronic distress, depression and anxiety. Effective management of pests requires a clear and strong commitment from the State Government, Local Council and the community. 

The average cost of rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and other vertebrate pests on the Australian agricultural industry is as high as $596 million per year – with wild dog costs almost doubling since the last analysis. In NSW alone, the average cost on the agricultural industry is $151.5 million per year.

Target pest species within Byron Shire are:

  • Wild dog
  • European red fox
  • Feral cat
  • Indian myna
  • Cane toad
  • European rabbit

Emerging pest species within the Byron Shire are:

  • Feral Goat
  • Feral Pig
  • Feral deer

Alert pest species are:

  • Red-eared slider turtle
  • Red imported fire ant
  • Yellow crazy ant
  • Big headed ant
  • Indian ring-necked parrot  

Report alert species to the Invasive Plants and Animals Enquiry Line: 1800 680 244. 

Who's responsible?

The NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 together with the Local Land Services Act 2013 identifies that all land managers, regardless of whether on private or public land, have the same responsibility to manage pest animals. 

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. 

Advantages and disadvantages of control tools

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 a 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


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 or North Coast Local Land Services on 02 6623 3900 to report sightings of pest animals, including wild dogs. This information is recorded to inform the management of pest animals in our Shire. 

Wild dog refers to any free-ranging dog, including feral dogs, dingoes and hybrids of the two (Jackson et al., 2017). 

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 Shire 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 our Shire in the late 1970’s.

Why are cane toads 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 item consumed by cane toads is 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. Cane 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 if they are eaten. The poison may also affect 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
  • 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 (including the North Coast Regional Strategic Pest Animal Management Plan)

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.

NSW Biosecurity Act 2015