Foxes targeted in Northern Rivers baiting program

Annual Northern Rivers fox baiting on public land between Brunswick Heads and Iluka to protect threatened shorebirds is set to begin next week starting Monday 3 July.

Pied Oystercatcher (Haematopus longirostris)

National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Pest Management Officer, Lisa Wellman said the priority areas are Brunswick Heads and Richmond River Nature Reserves as well as Broadwater and Bundjalung National Parks.

"Baits will be laid in the coastal dunes and management trails of these parks and reserves from Monday 3 July to Friday 15 December 2017," Ms Wellman said.

"The program is a joint initiative of the North Coast Local Land Services, the Department of Defence, Crown Lands, local Councils and the NPWS.

"The aim is to reduce fox numbers during the Pied Oystercatcher's breeding season between July and December each year.

"The program has been successful in increasing Pied Oystercatcher fledgling numbers, one of the most significant endangered populations of shorebird in the area.

"Last year the success of the program in the South Ballina to Bundjalung National Park area produced 23 Pied Oystercatcher fledglings.

"Since the fox control program began in 1994, in the South Ballina – Evans Head area over 220 Pied Oystercatchers have successfully fledged.

"The co-operation of beach users in avoiding disturbance to shorebirds on the beach or dunes is crucial to the survival of shorebird populations.

"In particular, the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles on the beach should be timed to ensure they only driven at low tide to avoid driving above the high tide mark where Pied Oystercatchers nest.

People should be aware of the programs and avoid bait stations at all times.

"Signs are installed at all access point to the parks and reserves to notify park visitors when baiting programs are active.

"While 1080 fox baits are designed to kill foxes so it is important that people only take their dogs to areas that are designated dog exercise areas and not national parks and nature reserves,' Ms Wellman said.