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Foxes targeted in Northern Rivers baiting program

Pied Oystercatcher Image: NPWS
The annual Northern Rivers fox baiting on public land between Brunswick Heads and Iluka – to protect threatened shorebirds – is set to begin next week. National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), pest management officer Lisa Wellman said Bundjalung National Park was among the priority areas, which also include the Brunswick Heads and Richmond River nature reserves and Broadwater National Park. “Baits will be laid in the coastal dunes and management trails of these parks and reserves from Monday July 3 to Friday December 15,” she said. “The program is a joint initiative of the North Coast Local Land Services, the Department of Defence, Crown Lands, local councils and the NPWS. “The aim is to reduce fox numbers during the pied oystercatcher’s breeding season between July and December. “The program has been successful in increasing pied oystercatcher fledgling numbers, one of the most significant endangered populations of shorebirds in the area. “Last year the success of the program in the South Ballina to Bundjalung National Park area produced 23 pied oystercatcher fledglings. “The co-operation of beach users in avoiding disturbance to shorebirds on the beach or dunes is crucial to the survival of shorebird populations. “In particular, the use of four-wheel-drive vehicles on the beach should be timed to ensure they are only driven at low tide to avoid … where pied oystercatchers nest [above the high tide mark].” She said signs will be installed at all access points to the parks and reserves. “People should be aware of the programs and avoid bait stations at all times,” she said. “The 1080 fox baits are designed to kill foxes, so it is important that people only take their dogs to areas that are designated dog exercise areas and not national parks and nature reserves,” Ms Wellman said.