Dogs and Wildlife an Emotive Subject
This week Dublin City Council, a partner of the Dublin Bay Biosphere proposed the North Bull Island Nature Reserve Action Plan, 2020-2025. The plan details 20 aims, many of which focus on the conservation of its sensitive wildlife areas and the species contained therein.
One of the recommendations focuses on the disturbance caused by dogs off leash and a quick look at social and traditional media will tell you that for some this is a contentious issue.
Dog owners, by their nature are for the most part, animal lovers and many take the opportunity to exercise their dogs on North Bull Island. Unfortunately this activity can cause significant impacts on the internationally important wildlife that use our biosphere.
The plan recommends restricting access to dogs in the most sensitive wildlife areas of North Bull Island. Dog walkers are also asked to keep their dogs on leash in other areas where there is likely to be an impact on wildlife. It does not suggest a complete ban on dog walking. In fact under the new plan, if approved, dog walkers are free to walk their dogs outside of the most sensitive zones and can even allow their dogs off-leash on parts of the island (outside of the bathing season, defined as June 1st - September 15th).
The draft plan will be presented to Councillors in the next couple of months for review. If passed, dogs and their owners will continue to have the opportunity to visit North Bull Island and enjoy the beauty our Biosphere has to offer, but they will do so knowing that their responsible actions are contributing towards the protection of our biosphere and the wonderful array of wildlife which is reliant upon it.
Image courtesy of Shay Connolly