Minister for Agriculture and Western NSW - Media Release
3 Jan 2023
Holiday-makers hitting the road this summer are being reminded to keep an eye out for exotic pests that may be hitching a ride, to help protect our $23.1 billion agricultural industry.
Minister for Agriculture Dugald Saunders said everyone can play their part in maintaining our State’s biosecurity while enjoying their break.
“As we spend time with our families for the remainder of the Christmas and New Year holidays, it’s important to remember that biosecurity threats don’t take a break,” Mr Saunders said.
“I encourage everyone, whether you’re travelling near or far, to keep your eyes open and report any sightings of exotic wildlife that could put our communities, our environment and our economies at risk.
“Hitchhiking with an unsuspecting motorist is one of the most common ways cane toads and other pests make their way into NSW. Authorities suspect a male toad found in Tathra earlier this month likely came in on an interstate vehicle, so remember to check your load for a toad before you return.”
The Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has responded to several reports of introduced species in 2022, including a four-metre-long Burmese python, a venomous Gila monster (venomous lizard), an iguana, corn snakes and an African spurred tortoise, many of which were illegally kept at properties in Sydney.
“The illegal wildlife trade can be just as devastating to the animal that has been poached as it is to the new environment it has been introduced to,” Mr Saunders said.
“Animals should never be forced to go where they don’t belong, and if they escape from someone’s garage or backyard, it will create a much bigger problem.”
NSW DPI ‘s social media campaign called ‘Protect What We Love’ helps raise awareness about these types of pests and reminds people to report cases of exotic animals being kept illegally. All sightings of these animals should be reported to NSW DPI on 1800 680 244 or take a photograph and fill out DPI’s unusual animal form.
Cane toad sightings can also be reported to Local Land Services on 1300 795 299.
Media contact: Candice Giannakos | 0476 813 993