Authorities are investigating reports of domestic dogs attacking bushwalkers in the Illawarra escarpment, in a development that has sparked a warning for dog-owners.
The National Parks and Wildlife Service says it is increasing patrols and handing out $300 fines for people caught walking their dog in a national park .
With the practice thought to be on the rise during lockdown, NPWS area manager Graham Bush warned it was having a major impact on native wildlife and other park users.
"NPWS recently received reports of dogs attacking bushwalkers on the Illawarra escarpment," Mr Bush said.
"We are looking into this very serious matter and want to remind people that it is illegal to take dogs into national parks.
"Dogs can also have a significant impact on local wildlife. Unlike some other local parks, national parks are designated protected areas that are specifically managed for their biodiversity values. Even the most well-behaved dog can inadvertently scare or harm native wildlife. Dogs will also leave their scent in the bush and this may keep wildlife away or disrupt their natural behaviour."
National parks are also potentially lethal for pets due to pest management programs, including the use of baits to cull foxes.