Island walk reopens

MUTTONBIRD Island is now back in action.

The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) re-opened the nature reserve to the public at 4.30pm yesterday.

The Coffs Harbour landmark was declared off limits until further notice on April 29 in the wake of the slaughter of more than 40 young muttonbirds.

A fox was believed to be the culprit.

"During this time, we have fenced off the access, set numerous soft-jawed traps, staff have been patrolling the island at night with spotlights, and a baiting program has also been undertaken to protect the young birds," NPWS Coffs Coast manager, Glenn Storrie, said.

"Since then, no further fledglings were lost, and there have been no further fox sightings. As the birds have now left (migrated north), we are able to re-open this popular island."

Mr Storrie said it was the most accessible site on the East Coast for people wanting to see nesting muttonbirds.

"This makes it one of the great tourist attractions for Coffs Harbour, however, as was recently demonstrated so devastatingly, this can also provide easy access for introduced predators."

The NPWS has had reports of other fox sightings in the Jetty area and will investigate control programs.

"People can also help protect and enjoy Muttonbird Island by keeping to the walking track and leaving their pets at home," Mr Storrie said.

"I would like to express my appreciation to the community for their tremendous support during this unfortunate incident."



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