Australia's native plants and animals adapted to life on an isolated continent over millions of years. Ever since European settlement our native species have had to compete with a whole new range of introduced animals. These new pressures have also caused a major impact on our country's soil and waterways. With an ever-growing human population and development of land, the bushland reserves we have left are even more important for our native plants and animals to survive in.
Council's Feral Animal Control Program
The objective for managing the majority of established feral animals is to reduce the damage caused by pest species in the safest, most humane and cost-effective manner.
There are several control methods available for feral animals. These methods include conventional control techniques and biological control. Conventional control methods for feral animals include trapping, baiting, and shooting. The only biological control employed by Council is the periodic release of the rabbit calicivirus.
Council adheres to the guidelines for humane treatment and removal during the implementation of any feral animal control program, such as those outlined in the relevant Threat Abatement Plan, as well as adhering to animal welfare requirements that apply to the State of NSW.
Lane Cove Council is also a member of the Urban Feral Animal Action Group (UFAAG), now known as Sydney North Vertebrate Pest Committee (SNVPC), which was established in 1998. The Action Group is comprised of key land management agencies of the Sydney North Region. The Committee aims to share information and raise awareness about urban feral animals, educate agency members and develop the skills required to effectively manage pest animals.
A rabbit management plan has been developed by Local Land Services NSW and has been endorsed by each agency represented on the group in order to develop and continue implementing strategic rabbit control across Northern Sydney. The plan provides information on rabbit biology, ecology, history, roles and responsibilities of member agencies, outlines best practice methodologies and guidelines for planning and implementing rabbit control. The plan aims to reduce the environmental, agricultural and urban impacts caused by rabbits in the Sydney North Region and will assist agencies to fulfil their statutory obligations under the Rural Lands Protection Act, 1998.
Effective rabbit control requires integration of different methods. Any single technique used in isolation is less effective than two or more techniques carefully combined. When reliance is placed on only one technique and follow-up control is not implemented, initial gains are lost as rabbits will readily recolonise in the absence of further control.
The biological control method used is the rabbit calicivirus disease (rabbit haemorrhagic disease virus). This has proved more effective in wetter parts of the country than in drier regions. Council releases new strains of calicivirus periodically in conjunction with other members of SNVPC under the direction of Local Land Services NSW.
Council recommends that pet owners keep their pet rabbits vaccinated to protect against calicivirus. For feral rabbit issues on public property, please contact Council on 9911 3555. You may also register your sightings on RabbitScan.
Foxes are scheduled as a Key Threatening Process under the Threatened Species Conservation Act and have been declared pest species by the NSW government. foxes are major predators of native wildlife.
As part of the Sydney North Regional Fox Control Program, Council aims to ensure the long term recovery and protection of native fauna (including threatened species) across northern Sydney by reducing fox numbers over time. The program is multi agency and multi tenure, it requires considerable liaison and cooperation between agencies.
Control of urban foxes is made complex by their interactions and proximity with humans. Council has found that the most effective and humane method of fox control is through the implementation of a strategic shooting program, conducted under strict controls. Council employs licenced feral animal control specialists to conduct fox and rabbits shoots in several locations in the LGA.
An additional aim of the regional fox control program is to raise public awareness and educate people about the impacts of foxes and the need for feral animal control in urban areas. Agencies are now reporting success through formal fox activity monitoring and native fauna surveys and also anecdotal evidence from the community.
If you have fox problems or have seen a fox, please contact Council on 9911 3555. You may also register your sighting at Foxscan.