Threats to wildlife and natural areas

Pest animals

Feral animals impact native bird and animal populations in highly urbanised environments.

Stray domestic cats and the European red fox are known to prey on the small native lizards and birds found in urban areas of Sydney.

European Red Foxes

Introduced foxes are a declared pest in NSW, and are Australia’s number one predator threatening the survival of native wildlife and many currently threatened species.

fox in grass looking back

In urban areas they are also increasingly causing problems. These include:

  • threatening urban wildlife populations and biodiversity
  • disturbing or killing small domestic pets (such as rabbits, guinea pigs, poultry and aviary birds)
  • scavenging through rubbish bins and at waste facilities
  • acting as a potential reservoir for disease/parasites including hydatids 

Fifteen Sydney councils, including Inner West Council, have come together to develop a regional and coordinated approach to fox management to address these problems. Over the next year the project will study the behaviour of urban foxes, engage local communities and map the distribution of foxes in southern Sydney enabling fox control to be undertaken at strategic locations.

To reduce the impacts of foxes, we encourage you to record and map sightings of foxes and fox impacts in your local area in Fox Scan.

Visit the Fox Scan website and help us map your sightings.

fox scan logo

Indian Mynas

Numbers of Indian Mynas in urban areas have increased dramatically in recent years, causing significant problems for our native wildlife.

Two Indian Myna birds

These include:

  • Competing aggressively with native wildlife for nesting hollows, evicting and killing the young of native animals
  • Invading endangered habitats and further increase the risk of extinction of some endangered native species
  • Damaging grain and fruit crops. Mynas can also spread mites and they have the potential to spread disease to people and domestic animals

An Indian Myna trap was developed by the Australian National University in 2005. Mynas are caught in the trap and can then be euthanised using carbon dioxide.

More information on dealing with Indian Mynas can be found at the Office of Environment and Heritage website.

Head to the Department of Environment and Energy for more information on feral animals.


Weeds are often defined as plants growing out of place, and yet who is to say which plant is appropriate for what place?

Plants that significantly impact upon the natural environment, the community or the economy should be controlled. Up until 1 July 2017 the main piece of legislation dealing with these plants was the Noxious Weeds Act 1994. Under this Act certain plants were termed "noxious weeds"; and were placed into classes that dictated their control measures.

The NSW Noxious Weeds Act 1994 has now been repealed and replaced with the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 and its accompanying Biosecurity Regulations. Under the new Act, plants are no longer termed "noxious"; nor have classes. Instead, all plants are assessed for their biosecurity risk. This is the risk that the introduction, presence, spread or increase of a plant will have, or may potentially have, an adverse effect on the economy, the environment or the community.

Regardless of whether plants have specific actions prescribed to them, the NSW Biosecurity Act 2015 recognises that everyone who knows, or ought to reasonably know, that a plant poses a biosecurity risk has a general biosecurity duty to prevent, eliminate and minimise that biosecurity risk so far as is reasonably practicable. 

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Page last updated: 07 Mar 2019