NPWS increase patrols after dog forces endangered shorebirds to abandon Sawtell Spit

The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) are increasing patrols in Coffs Coast national parks over the summer holidays after a visitor with a pet dog recently caused mayhem in the district's most important Little Tern breeding colony.

Little tern (Sternula albifrons) chicks

NPWS Area Manager, Scott Filmer, said Little Terns and other endangered shorebirds make nests directly on the sand's surface, which makes them extremely vulnerable to attack from native and domestic animals and human disturbances.

"A person has been reported multiple times taking a pet bull terrier off-leash into Bongil Bongil National Park at Sawtell, despite numerous signs warning beachgoers to avoid fenced off areas and to respect the no dog areas," Mr Filmer said.

"While this person was using a mobile telephone, the uncontrolled pet dog chased and mercilessly harassed the nesting endangered shorebirds.

"This is an example of why dogs are prohibited in our precious conservation reserves and national parks," said Mr Filmer.

During frequent park patrols over the Christmas and New Year period, NPWS staff will also be on the look-out for inappropriate use of fire, illegal camping, littering and irresponsible behaviour in family camp grounds and picnic areas.

"Our parks, campgrounds and picnic areas are for every person to treasure and enjoy, so this summer our staff will be maintaining a high profile to ensure our visitors have a happy, safe and enjoyable experience," said Mr Filmer.

To learn more about looking after our national parks and staying safe during your visit, head to the NPWS care for parks page and the NPWS alerts page.

You can also get more information about popular national parks in the Coffs Coast region including, Yuraygir National Park, Coffs Coast Regional Park, Bongil Bongil National Park and Ulidarra National Park, on the NPWS website.