Conservation Regulator officers are patrolling a stretch of beach at Port Fairy, following numerous reports of dogs chasing hooded plovers in the area.
Both adult and baby hooded plovers are nesting in shallow scrapes in the sand on the section of beach from Connolly’s Access Point to Golfies Access Point.
Prominent signage advises that the area is a nesting site for the threatened species, and sections have been fenced off to the public.
Conservation Regulator Forest and Wildlife Officers will monitor the stretch of beach until the end of April, when the hooded plover breeding season ends.
The Conservation Regulator will investigate instances and reports of dogs harassing hooded plovers.
Standing only 15 centimetres tall, these tiny beach-nesting shorebirds rely on undisturbed areas to breed.
Significant penalties apply for dog owners whose pets destroy or disturb these birds or their nests.
Under the Wildlife Act 1975, allowing a dog to attack or chase wildlife is a crime, and the offence can be subject to a fine of up to $4,130.
If you have information relating to dogs chasing or harassing wildlife, report it to Crime Stoppers confidentially on 1800 333 000 or at crimestoppers.com.au.
Comments attributable to Conservation Regulator Barwon South West Acting Program Manager of Regulatory Operations, Ash Burns:
“It’s very disappointing we’ve had reports of dogs chasing and harassing hooded plovers, as dogs are a major threat to the survival of this threatened species.”
“We’re encouraging dog owners to have their dogs on leashes at this beach, and maintain a safe distance the from fenced off areas.”
“The breeding season for these shore-nesting birds is until the end of April, so people and their animals need to steer clear of the nest sites to protect the young.”
“Anyone who witnesses hooded plovers being chased by dogs is urged to make a report to Crime Stoppers, and help us protect this iconic species.”
Page last updated: 27/03/20