Vertebrate pest animals definitions and FAQs

Who is responsible for Vertebrate Pest Animal Management in NSW?

The following organisation all have a role to play in NSW;

NSW Department of Primary Industries

The NSW DPI has an enabling role for vertebrate and invertebrate pest animal management in NSW. Its primary responsibilities are in administering invasive species and biosecurity legislation, policy, training and education.

Local Land Services

Local Land Services operate under the Local Land Services Act 2013. Local Land Services participate in on-ground detection and control of vertebrate pests and plague locusts in NSW. This work includes giving advice on pest animal management techniques, assisting land managers to reduce the impacts of pests through the coordination of group control programs, conducting inspections for pest species and regulating compliance with the Local Land Services Act 2013.

Environment Protection Authority

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) regulates the use of all pesticides in NSW, after the point of supply under the Pesticides Act 1999 and its regulations. This involves developing and enforcing pesticide use laws for NSW, such as producing Pesticide Control Orders (PCOs) which stipulate how vertebrate pesticides which are restricted chemical products (RCPs) can be used to reduce exposure and minimise impacts on the environment, non-target plants, non-target animals, people and trade. The EPA also provides information and advice on management of pesticides.

Office of Environment and Heritage - National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS)

NPWS is responsible for managing National Parks and Nature Reserves for the protection and conservation of biodiversity in NSW. This involves the development and implementation of Regional Pest Management Strategies which prioritise programs and specific actions for invasive species including vertebrate pests on lands managed under the National Parks and Wildlife Act 1974.

NPWS also works with other government agencies and the community to protect biodiversity and agriculture on neighbouring private lands. It also provides advice and undertakes species recovery, threat abatement and community education programs and research to ensure that threatened species are protected. Threat abatement may involve the development of plans such as the Threat Abatement Plan for Predation by the Red Fox (Fox TAP).

Land managers, communities and special interest groups

All private land managers have an obligation under the Local Land Services Act 2013 to manage vertebrate pests on land they own, occupy or manage. Acknowledgement should be given to the important role of community volunteers and special interest groups in the management of vertebrate pests. These individuals and groups provide hundreds of hours each week assisting in the management of private and public lands through direct vertebrate pest animal control and monitoring activities.

Crown Lands

Crown Lands, part of NSW DPI, is a significant land manager in NSW administering Crown land. Crown Lands develops and implements invasive species management strategies on land under its direct control. It also supports activities undertaken by community groups and other stakeholders that manage land on their behalf.

Local government and other public land managers

All public land managers including Local Councils and County Councils have an obligation under the Local Land Services Act 2013 to manage vertebrate pest animals on land they own, occupy or manage.


Industry has three main roles in invasive species management: (a) managing pests on land and in aquatic environments used for production; (b) managing the trading potential or known invasive species used for, or held by zoos and collectors and (c) not providing vectors or pathways for invasive species establishment through movement of goods, produce and equipment or related activities.

Who do I contact to get information and advice about vertebrate pest animals in my area?

Your local Local Land Services

Which vertebrate pest animals are declared and what must be done?

Currently rabbits, wild dogs, feral pigs, foxes and camels and three species of locust (Australian plague locust, Migratory locust and the Spur-throated locust) are declared pests under the Local Land Services Act 2013.

The Minister may impose various 'destruction' and 'notification' obligations on occupiers of controlled land, including public land managers and local government authorities, that require occupiers to 'continually suppress and destroy declared pests'. The Minister may also empower authorities to serve individual and general eradication orders on any occupier or owner of controlled land in its district to eradicate pests by methods specified in the order.

How do I report animal cruelty concerns?

If you suspect or witness cruelty to an animal, you should directly contact one of the enforcement agencies.

These agencies are:

The NSW Department of Primary Industries is responsible for administering the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, but officers of the NSW Department of Primary Industries do not have powers of enforcement. For more information see Complaints regarding general animal welfare and cruelty.

Who is responsible for licensed Hunting in NSW?

The NSW Department of Primary Industry's Game Licensing Unit.

1080 in Australia: why and how it is used

Coordinated broad-scale baiting with 1080 helps keep pest animal populations low. Large numbers of pest animals in the landscape can impact profitability – and even viability - of farming, damage the environment and lead to extinction of native animals and plants.  Keeping pest animal numbers low means we need to control less of them in the future.

The facts:

  • Only a small amount of 1080 is needed to kill wild rabbits, feral pigs, foxes, feral cats and wild dogs. It works by stopping the function of vital organs leading to death.
  • 1080 is a naturally occurring chemical found in over 40 Australia plants. It is naturally broken down in the soil and water by microbes, fungi, bacteria and plants so there is very little or no impact on the environment.
  • Native marsupials are less sensitive to 1080 than dogs, foxes, cats, pigs and rabbits. That’s one reason why it is such a good poison to use in Australia. People and birds are the most tolerant to 1080 followed by reptiles, amphibians and fish.
  • The use of 1080 is highly regulated in NSW.  Only Authorised Control Officers can prepare and supply poison baits.  People that use the baits must also complete training and provide proof of training before baits will be supplied.
  • 1080 has been thoroughly tested in many different environments over many years to ensure it will kill pest animals in a safe and effective way.  This includes studies on the best bait material to use for the target pest animals and to reduce the risk to non-target animals. The placement of baits is recorded and baits are generally spaced out over long distances to reduce the risk of animals taking multiple baits.
  • 1080 has been assessed as causing mild to moderate suffering of affected animals, but when this happens the animal may have already become unconscious and unable to feel pain.  Time to death can range from 5-48 hours after eating a lethal amount of 1080.
  • Domestic animals such as dogs, like their wild cousins, will be killed by 1080 so you need to ensure you keep them away during a baiting program which will be identified by appropriate signage.
  • Seasonal conditions affect how long baits will remain toxic after being put out.  Things like the time of year, the amount of rain and the type of bait will all have an influence.