National Parks and Wildlife Sevice aerial baiting program 2020

Aerial baiting using 1080 is a well-refined technique widely employed by National Parks and Wildlife Service and other land managers. It is the most cost-effective method for fox and wild dog control over large and/or inaccessible areas.

Following the extent of the impacts of the 2019–20 fire season, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) will significantly increase the level of aerial baiting conducted on land it manages primarily to reduce post-fire predation by foxes on native wildlife, but also to reduce predation by foxes and wild dogs on neighbouring livestock enterprises. 

What is 1080?

1080 is a naturally occurring toxin found in over 30 Australian plant species that is also used as a vertebrate pesticide for baiting pest animals, such as foxes and wild dogs. 1080 offers a degree of target-specificity because it is particularly lethal to placental carnivores, such as foxes and wild dogs, while carnivorous marsupials, birds and reptiles have a much higher tolerance to the pesticide. 

Minimising impacts on native wildlife

The Conservation Risk Assessment: Aerial baiting programs with sodium fluoroacetate (1080) for wild dog and fox control – 2020–2022 has been prepared to ensure aerial baiting programs will not have an adverse impact on native wildlife populations. It replaces the previous Conservation Risk Assessment (CRA) published in 2015. It includes enhanced large-scale pest control operations following the major bushfires of 2019–20.

The proposed aerial baiting program implemented in accordance with the CRA:

  • involves an increase in overall baiting effort across New South Wales because it will occur across a broader geographic area; however, the available baiting prescriptions remain unchanged (up to 40 baits per kilometre for wild dogs and up to 10 baits per kilometre for foxes)
  • is the only viable method for landscape-scale control of foxes and wild dogs
  • gives effect to the statutory obligation on NPWS under the Biosecurity Act 2015 in relation to the control of wild dogs and foxes
  • is consistent with all relevant legislation
  • delivers 1080 baits in a manner that will not have an adverse impact on native wildlife populations
  • will reduce fox densities and improve the prospects for survival for native wildlife including threatened species
  • will reduce the economic impact of wild dogs and foxes on landholders
  • will avoid impacts on wild dogs in selected parts of national parks where baiting will not occur, to allow wild dogs to fulfil the ecological role of the dingo in those locations
  • is unlikely to lead to any increase in feral cat impacts (as a result of meso-predator release), as this has not been demonstrated to occur in Australian systems. 

This CRA should be read in conjunction with the NPWS Guidelines for undertaking wild dog and fox aerial baiting on National Parks and Wildlife Service estate, which provides guidance for NPWS staff to plan, approve and undertake aerial baiting for wild dogs and foxes.

Legislation and requirement

1080 is the common name for the vertebrate pesticide sodium fluoroacetate, used to control specific pest animals: wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and rabbits. All 1080 pesticide products including 1080 baits are classified as restricted pesticides that are controlled by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medical Authority and can only be used in accordance with a complex legislative framework administered by the Environment Protection Authority.

The key documents that define these legislative requirements are the Pesticides Act 1999, the 1080 pest control orders (PCOs), and the DPI Vertebrate pesticide manual.