Wild Dog & Pest Control

Call to join FeralScan for co-ordinated pest animal control

Sheep Central, April 19, 2021

SHEEP producers have been urged register on the free pest animal resource FeralScan to help monitor the activity of wild dogs, foxes, rabbits, feral pigs and deer.

FeralScan national coordinator and invasive species specialist with NSW Department of Primary Industries Peter West said registration enabled landholders to be notified of feral animal activity in their area.

Mr West also encouraged landholders to join a community, pest control or biopsecurity group in their area.

“We’ve increased the capability of it to be useful to groups.

“We’ve seen a lot more professional wild dog controllers and pest controllers using it,” he said.

“We make sure that groups can use it and navigate through it easily and we’ve done a lot to help groups use it to help document the issues in their local areas.”

Mr West the current pest issues for sheep producers include wild dogs, deer and pigs. He said 12 months ago when the effects of the drought were more significant, a lot of people were having major problems with grazing pressure from deer. People were not complaining as much lately, but he said the pest’s numbers were starting build up.

Reporting pest animal sightings on FeralScan is important, but he said registrations enabled the app to bring that activity to landholders’ attention, he said.

“We are constantly informing landholders, and particularly landholders in formalised groups, the situation has changed, but you have to be a registered user.”

Once registered on FeralScan, landholders can record:

Sightings and evidence (eg wild dog footprints, rabbit warrens) including photos from monitoring cameras

Attacks (ie livestock predation) and damage (eg soil erosion near rabbit warrens)

Control activities (eg baiting or trapping for wild dogs and foxes, rabbit warren ripping)

Disease in rabbit populations (such as RHDV).

Mr West said FeralScan has grown from a simple citizen science project into a popular, community-led monitoring and management program with more than a quarter of a million pest animal records.

“FeralScan contains data entered by more than 25,000 people, making it the largest community-driven pest animal monitoring program in Australia.

“Continuous input from farmers and other users has delivered an important resource which informs pest animal management programs across the country,” he said.

“More than 400 community and biosecurity groups now use the resource in a strategic way to monitor pest animals, plan control, document their efforts and evaluate outcomes.”

FeralScan is a free resource from the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions that wool growers – plus other landholders, community groups and professional pest animal controllers – can use to record information about pest animal activity in their local area.

The resource includes sections devoted to the key pest animals that affect wool businesses, including wild dogs, foxes, rabbits, feral pigs and deer.

Landholders can use FeralScan to map pest animal activity, document problems, upload photos, and record control activities to stay informed about pest animals in their local area, helping protect farms, livestock, biodiversity and communities.

FeralScan is good for monitoring wild dogs

Central west New South Wales sheep producers Helen Lawson if secretary of the Hargraves-Hill End Landholder Group and a proud FeralScan user and ally.

“We use FeralScan to monitor wild dog activity.

“It automatically notifies landholders and the local community of wild dog reports, which help us plan and undertake control measures,” she said.

“The group has used FeralScan to record wild dog sightings, attacks on livestock and control activities across their district to improve the effectiveness of management.

“It has become increasingly useful as more people use the resource,” she said.

FeralScan works through a user-friendly website and its benefits include being able to develop a property or local area map of pest animal activity for co-ordinated control, notify local community or landholder groups about pest animal activity, and send alerts to neighbours or biosecurity authorities.

FeralScan receives funding from Australian Wool Innovation, the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment and NSW DPI through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions.

More information can be accessed at www.feralscan.org.au or the app can be downloaded by searching for ‘FeralScan’ in Apple or GooglePlay stores.

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