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Council adopted a Wildlife Protection Area Policy in November 2017. In accordance with this Policy and the NSW Companion Animals Act 1998, Council can prohibit cats and dogs from public lands declared as a Wildlife Protection Area.

What is a Wildlife Protection Area?

A Wildlife Protection Area is public land that is reserved for the protection of native animals and their habitats. Under the NSW Companion Animals Act, Council can designate any of its important bushland reserves as a Wildlife Protection Area to afford a greater level of protection to native wildlife from the adverse impacts of cat and dog predation and disturbance. Wildlife Protection Areas provide a safe refuge for our native wildlife where the impacts of these threats can be managed.

Council’s Wildlife Protection Area Policy

Bush Stone Curlew To provide a transparent, community supported process, Council has prepared and adopted a Wildlife Protection Area Policy, to enable it to declare a public place a Wildlife Protection Area.

Under this Policy, areas can be declared as one of two categories:

  • Category 1 lands where both cats and dogs are prohibited as per S.30 c.1(b) and S.14 c. 1(h) of the Companion Animals Act.
  • Category 2 lands where cats are prohibited but dogs are permitted. In these areas dogs must be on leash, accompanied by a responsible person and be confined to formed tracks, pathways or roads.

Council reserves that are suitable for consideration as a Wildlife Protection Area will be proposed in accordance with this Policy through a combined consideration of priority for wildlife protection and resources available to prepare and implement the proposal.

The criteria for the identification of Wildlife Protection Areas are:

  • Presence of fauna, particularly threatened fauna, susceptible to the impacts of domestic dogs or cats;
  • Evidence of the occurrence of domestic dogs or cats; and
  • Ability of Council to identify and signpost the Wildlife Protection Area in accordance with the Companion Animals Act.

Upon endorsement by Council, proposed Wildlife Protection Areas will be publicly exhibited for a minimum of 28 days, allowing the community to make comment on the proposal.

Why do we need Wildlife Protection Areas?

Rosella The Tweed region supports one of the highest concentrations of threatened plants and animals in Australia. This includes at least 120 species of fauna, 91 species of flora and 11 Endangered Ecological (plant and animal) Communities.

Council retains ownership over large areas of land in Tweed, including 3,500ha of bushland. Collectively this land provides important habitat for Tweed’s biodiversity including many species of threatened plants and animals. Whilst not all of these areas are actively managed for biodiversity conservation, high conservation value reserves are managed by Council's Natural Resource Management Unit for conservation outcomes, with significant ongoing investment in ecological restoration, revegetation, vertebrate pest control and threatened species management.

Council’s high conservation reserves located close to urban areas are most at risk, with many residences adjoining urban bushland owning a cat and/or a dog.

Native fauna are impacted by cats due to mortality, injury or disease spread as a result of cat hunting during the day and at night. Hunting behaviours of cats can also impact on fauna by causing disturbance to breeding, foraging and roosting. Susceptible fauna groups include; small to medium sized birds, particularly ground-nesting birds; small to medium sized arboreal mammals (gliders, possums); bats (insectivorous and blossom/fruit bats); small to medium sized ground dwelling mammals (planigales, bandicoots) and frogs, lizards, snakes and insects. Similarly, native fauna are impacted from dogs due to mortality, injury or disease spread resulting from dog attack. Dogs can also cause disturbance to and induce stress in fauna, can crush or eat the eggs of ground nesting birds, and similarly to cats, can impact on fauna by causing disturbance to breeding, foraging and roosting. Susceptible fauna groups include; ground dwelling, roosting and nesting birds; arboreal mammals that come to the ground to move between habitat areas (koalas, possums); ground dwelling mammals (bandicoots, echidnas, wallabies) and snakes and lizards.

Safe habitats, free from the impacts of cats are dogs, are essential for the future survival of our native fauna including susceptible threatened fauna like the Koala, Albert’s Lyrebird, Bush Stone-curlew, Squirrel Glider and Long-nosed Potoroo.

Where are the Wildlife Protection Areas in Tweed?

In September 2018, Tweed Shire Council designated three bushland reserves as Wildlife Protection Areas. These include:

  • Koala Beach
  • Pottsville Environment Park
  • Pottsville Wetland (south)

Aerial photo Koala Beach

Aerial photo Pottsville Environment Park

Aerial photo Pottsville Wetland (south)

Within these Wildlife Protection Areas, dogs and cats are prohibited. All entry points to Wildlife Protection Areas will be clearly signposted, informing residents and visitors that cats and dogs are prohibited in these areas.

Council will consider proposing inclusion of other high conservation reserves and/or areas where native wildlife are seriously impacted by domestic pets as Wildlife Protection Areas, in accordance with the Wildlife Protection Area Policy.

Frequently asked questions

Echidna

What are the fines imposed if my dog or cat is in a Wildlife Protection Area?

Under the Companion Animals Act and Regulation, Council Rangers can issue a Penalty Infringement Notices to dog owners of $330 for having a dog in a Wildlife Protection Area or to cat owners of $180 for having a cat in a Wildlife Protection Area.

Who do I contact to report a dog or cat in a Wildlife Protection Area?

Contact Council during business hours (8.30am to 4.15pm Monday to Friday) on (02) 6670 2400 or after hours on 1800 818 326. Whilst a Council Ranger may not be able to attend to the report immediately, it is important the community report the presence of dogs or cats in Wildlife Protection Areas (either accompanied by a person or roaming and unattended) to assist directing resources and identifying the need for ongoing Ranger patrols.

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