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Ban on dog walking

  • Limited habitat for threatened wildlife along the coastline of Mornington Peninsula National Park has benefitted from the Victorian Government’s decision in March 2016 to reinstate the National Park Regulations prohibiting dogs from the park.
  • The prohibition of dogs, put in place along the 42km coastline and commenced on 1 November 2016, aims to better protect wildlife, particularly the Hooded Plover and its habitat, with the shorebird listed as a threatened species under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988.
  • The move to give threatened species greater protection by removing the previous exception to the National Parks Regulations which permitted dog walking, has enabled Parks Victoria to extend annual fox control programs to further increase their effectiveness and provide a range of threatened species their best chance of survival with less predation pressure from introduced feral animals.
  • Hooded Plover breeding success this summer has been very encouraging with 8 chicks fledgling from the Mornington Peninsula National Park and an additional 5 fledglings from the Point Nepean National Park, a total of 13 across the southern peninsula for the 2016/17 season. 13 fledged birds demonstrates an increase on the poor statistics of the past 20 years across the southern peninsula.
  • Prohibiting dogs has greatly assisted Parks Victoria in managing the natural environment to benefit all wildlife, particularly habitats for threatened species, as well as reducing recreation conflicts with other park visitors, with 32 other fauna species of conservation significance also benefitting from the reinstated regulation.
  • Local Parks Victoria staff are continuing to educate park neighbours and visitors about the dog regulations in the national park and compliance patrols will continue throughout the Winter and Spring periods
  • A number of infringement notices, ($311 in 2016/17) and official warnings were issued over the summer and autumn period, but it must be noted that those not complying with the dog regulations are in the minority and there has been a notable decline in non-compliance across the coastline.

For background information about the review and subsequent ban on dogs in the park, see the documents below.

Questions and answers -  Dog prohibition in Mornington Peninsula National Park

Dog Access Review 2015

Protecting Mornington Peninsula’s Threatened Species - Minister's Media Release

Independent Consultant Summary Report

Independent Consultant Full Report

Fauna Species List

Technical Series No. 4 – Managing the Hooded Plover in Victoria 2003

Managing the Hooded Plover in Victoria

Dog walking on the Mornington Peninsula

There are obvious health benefits for people walking their dogs, and there are many areas on the Mornington Peninsula where people can do just that. However, within the national park it is an activity that needs to be carefully managed in the interests of protecting wildlife.

Alternative areas are available where dogs can be exercised responsibly, where people and their dogs can achieve the health benefits of exercise and where risks or threats to wildlife are relatively low. The Mornington Peninsula Shire brochure Where to Exercise Your Dog – It’s good for you and good for your dog provides detail on other areas where dogs can be walked on leash and where dogs can be exercised in designated leash free areas including beach areas.