Pest Management and Landholder Responsibility

Monitoring and reporting
The control of pest animals on private land in New South Wales is the responsibility of the owner/occupier under the Rural Lands Protection Act. There are 3 declared species being rabbits, pigs and wild dogs that must be continuously controlled. These pests cost agriculture money in terms of  lost production and infection of exotic diseases whilst also causing irreversible damage to the environment.

Eradication of pest animals is rarely achievable so management of numbers and reduction of damage inflicted is best practice. Being proactive to problems instead of reactive once problems have excalated is a good practice to adopt. It is also important to remember that large scale programs covering a number of farms will increase the chance of success. Listed below are some common pests and the methods by which they can be controlled.

Wild dogs


What is a wild dog?

A wild dog is any dog that can be classed as the one of the following:

  • dingo
  • half-breed dingo
  • domestic dog that has gone wild.

Controlling wild dogs

There are 3 main methods for controlling wild dogs. Shooting can be used but is opportunistic and can be time consuming with only a few animals taken out each time. Trapping is another popular method as it can be used in a variety of ways but must be carried out properly so as not to educate animals and create trap shy dogs.

Baiting is another method of control but people wishing to use 1080 baits must now hold an AQF3 or equivalent chemical users certificate and meet all the criteria laid out in the Pesticide Control Order before the program can begin. Wild Dog Associations operate in most areas affected by wild dogs, membership to these associations helps coordinate baiting programs increasing bait coverage.

There are also other methods being used to control wild dogs such as exclusion fencing and guard animals with varying amounts of success. Wild dog sightings and attacks should be immediately reported to your local Livestock Health and Pest Authority.

Feral pigs

What is a feral pig?

Feral pigs cause significant economic losses to agriculture by damaging crops, pastures, water holes, fencing and by killing lambs and sheep. The term feral pig is applied to:

  • any pig born in the wild
  •  any pig running in the wild
  •  any pig that has at any time run in the wild.

Fines for transporting or releasing feral pigs

Strict laws are in place to stop people from transporting and releasing live feral pigs. These fines include:

  • up to $22,000 for transporting live feral pigs
  • up to $5,500 for liberating feral pigs (or any pest animal)
  • up to $2,200 for having a live feral pig (or any live pest animal) in your possession.

Authorised officers continually monitor this illegal practice.

Controlling pigs

Pigs can be controlled through trapping, shooting and baiting programs. Pigs are a major risk for spreading and amplifying exotic diseases such as foot and mouth along with common diseases such as Leptospirosis.

Controlling rabbits

  • Baiting rabbits with 1080 and pindone poisoned carrot can quickly and effectively reduce numbers.
  • Biological controls such as myxomatosis and Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease (RHD) are useful aids to rabbit control. They should be capitalised upon by cleaning up residual populations and destroying rabbit harbour.
  • Fumigation can be an inexpensive and reasonably effective form of control.
  • Ripping of rabbit warrens is an essential follow up to the control methods listed here. It further discourages any rabbit from taking up residence at that site.
  • Explosives can be used in ‘difficult to get at’ areas for warren destruction.
  • Poisons and fumigants can be purchased and equipment associated with rabbit control can be hired from your local Livestock Health and Pest Authority for a nominal fee.

Foxes and other nuisance animals

In NSW there is currently no obligation for landholders to control species classed as nuisance animals; however, the impact of foxes on agricultural production can be dramatically reduced through implementing simple control measures and cooperative management programs.

Control methods:

  • conducting an individual property baiting program
  • coordinating a group baiting program
  • implementing a shooting program
  • maintaining strict shepherding practices
  • integrating existing control methods.

Where to from here?

For further information on pest animals and control programs listed in this article please contact your local ranger at the Livestock Health and Pest Authority.

Acknowledgement

This information is courtesy of the Livestock Health and Pest Authorities.

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