National Parks no place for pets

With more people than ever visiting local national parks everyone is reminded they can help our wildlife by using only designated dog exercise areas if they want to take their pets out.

Southern Brown Bandicoot (eastern), Isoodon obesulus obesulus

"We are seeing lots of people using their local national parks for exercise which is great – but please leave your dogs at home as it is illegal to take your pets to these parks," Mr van Rensburg National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)Greater Sydney Branch Director said.

"These areas are also not a safe place for pets, especially with the largest ever pest management program underway across New South Wales to help the State's wildlife recover from the recent fires and drought.

"The NPWS pest management program aims to give native animals the leg up they need to recover and includes 1080 poison baiting.

"Baits are lethal to domestic dogs and people should only be using the many legal pet-friendly and safe dog exercise areas.

"The target of the pest management program is foxes and feral cats which account for millions of native birds, mammals and reptiles, and are considered one of the biggest threats to wildlife recovery.

"The baits used by land managers to manage foxes have been fundamental to the survival of many loved iconic species including Southern Brown Bandicoots in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park and nesting shorebirds in Towra Point Nature Reserve.

"Many animal and bird species such as little penguins, bandicoots have been driven to the brink of extinction on the NSW mainland by foxes, with pest management the only real effective tool we have to protect them.

"Foxes can wreak enormous damage in a very short period of time and must be controlled. In 2015, a single fox wiped out 27 little Penguins from North Head, the only remaining little penguin population on the NSW mainland.

"Domestic dogs can also harass and harm little penguins as they come ashore or in their nests.

"Dogs also pose risks for koalas which have being sighted in Ku-ring-gai and Royal National Parks in recent times.

"We all love our wildlife and our domestic pets so making sure we protect them both is as simple as keeping our pets out of parks so our wildlife also has a safe haven to live," Mr van Rensburg said.

Owners face fines of $300 if domestic dogs are detected within a national park area.