Dogs - Threat to Koalas




Unrestricted dog access


During the day when the koala/dog-proof vehicle access gates are open, threatened species are at risk of dog attack by unleashed dogs which roam free in close proximity to the access road entrance or walked or transported by motor vehicle into the sports field site, even though there are three 'no dog' signs.  When the vehicle access gates are locked, dogs can be walked through the pedestrian access gates.  The sports field, access road and adjacent bushland are often used as an unleashed dog exercise area.


Entry of unleashed and leashed domestic dogs walked in or transported by car during the day and walked in via the pedestrian/wheelchair access gates early morning or after dusk.

Protection from dogs


The Black Rocks IKPoM 4.1.7 (p.14) says that the most effective method of reducing dog attacks on koalas is through promoting responsible dog ownership. It also says:-


‘It is not practical to prevent domestic animals from accessing areas of koala habitat within the vicinity of the site. It is therefore recommended that: The 88B instrument include a clause that only small dogs be allowed to be kept as pets by residents. All dogs should be contained within fenced boundary lots or enclosures and on a leash at all times when outside of any development lot. No dogs of the following breeds (including part breeds) be allowed: German Shepherd, Doberman, Rottweiler, Bull terrier and Pit bull terrier.


And:-


‘It is considered that, even if a koala does enter the .... area, the banning of large aggressive breeds and the containment of smaller dogs within a lot should ensure that the koala is highly unlikely to be killed or injured.’


It also recommends that:-


‘Dog owners should be made aware of their responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act (1998) and the penalties which may be imposed if the Act is breached.’


None of the above recommendations or regulations in the 88B Instrument in relation to the 'no cats' and 'limited dog rule' have been enforced. Koalas are at high risk of dog attack from aggressive breeds of dogs residing in and visiting the estate, which often roam unleashed in close proximity to the access road entrance (when the vehicle access gate is open during the day) and within the sports field site and adjacent koala habitat.


Furthermore, if the vehicle access gates are removed and replaced with a koala grid, now that the Black Rocks precinct koala study is completed, dogs will have easy access to the sports field site both day and night (see Koala Protection Gates).



Dr Steve Phillips


In his email dated 13/11/2013 Dr Phillips said:-  


Increasing the potential for use of the area by humans/domestic dogs is not a good outcome and council will not be able to police a ‘no dogs’ rule.”


Dr Phillips has also stated elsewhere that ‘there is no such thing as a koala-friendly dog.’



Feral predation


Edge effects created by disturbance exacerbate the risk of feral predation within the sports field, access road and surrounding bushland by reducing safe koala ranging areas and increasing the likelihood that koalas will be on the ground whilst relocating to a safer place.  This area has a history of wild dog activity that to date has not been controlled.


Tweed Daily News, 28/2/2015  p.1 states:


Since 2013 he (Mr Peterson, a local farmer) had spent more than $10,000 destroying 32 wild dogs near the Black Rocks estate.’  


     On p.8 Mr Peterson is quoted as stating:  


The bitches, from investigation, use the sand hill nearest to the sports field (Black Rocks) for their breeding lairs.’  


     And:  


Mr Peterson predicts his dog trapping operation will have to continue indefinitely’.



Attacks on wildlife


A hare was savaged and killed near a breeding koala sighting close to access road entrance and a wallaby was attacked (around neck and head) by an unleashed bull terrier in the estate near the koala/dog-proof fence and access road entrance.

For other threats to koalas at Black Rocks sports field area click here

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