HUNGRY wild dogs are moving south across New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia prompting renewed calls for greater co-operation among landholders and authorities on control programs.
Sheep Central has been told increasing numbers of wild dogs are coming through the South Australian barrier fence and others have been seen collecting along the segments spanning Queensland and New South Wales.
Increased dog activity below the fence in New South Wales and Queensland due to dry conditions, and inadequate maintenance of the South Australian section, has raised fears that wild dogs will reach southern South Australian and Victorian sheep regions in greater numbers.
Australian Wool Innovation wild dog Bruce Duncan and Livestock SA president Joe Keynes today urged land managers to co-ordinate their control efforts.
“The pressure on the South Australia and the New South Wales fence over the last two months has been incredible,” he said.
“It is not unusual to see multiple dogs walking up and down that fence.
“I’ve got examples of dogs actually trying to break through that fence and there are points where there is significant pressure on that fence.”
Although there have been very limited incursions of dogs from Queensland or South Australia into New South Wales, Mr Duncan said there has also been increased dog activity in in south-western NSW, raising the spectre of dogs moving into Victoria as the drought continues across the state. Increasing numbers of dogs and predation have been reported in the Lake Victoria, Wentworth and the Anabranch areas. Three dogs were shot at Hay recently and above Wilcannia a trapper has caught 56 dogs since January 1. One landholder trapped 27 dogs in the same period and another only marked 20 percent lambs.
“The effect of this big dry, coming on the back of a couple of really good seasons, is that we are seeing a significant number of dogs being trapped and sighted as well as predation in New South Wales.
“I think the problem is we’ve got dogs here and it has just become very very visible at this time,” he said.
“They aren’t coming through the fence (from Queensland) into New South Wales.”
Livestock SA calling for a co-ordinated response
Mr Keynes has welcomed the State Government’s recent funding of two wild dog trappers to start on July 1, and $200,000 for the provision to landholders of an extra 100,000 manufactured and fresh meat baits in addition to the 180,000 baits are already supplied through the Biteback program.
“We are certainly calling for a co-ordinated response.
“We’ve got some baiting going on soon and we’ve got the wild doggers – so they will hopefully clean up the dogs south of the fence or get them to manageable numbers,” he said.
“But obviously the animals are coming through the fence, so we need to repair the fence.
“There needs to be a long-term management plan for the fence, about how we actually fund it and reduce the number of dogs coming through the fence,” Mr Keynes said.
“I haven’t witnessed it myself, but all the anecdotal evidence says that there are increasing numbers of dogs coming through the fence.
“The fence is not maintained to the standard that it needs to be.”
Wild Dog Action Plan calls for co-ordinated control
A Wild Dog Action Plan update this week said with dry conditions persisting across much of eastern Australia, reports of wild dog sightings and activity are on the rise as dogs move across the landscape in search of food and water.
In NSW’s Western Division, Mr Duncan has urged land managers to remember the nil tenure principle and stick to best practice by:
- talking to their neighbours – sharing the problem and the solution
- co-ordinating control efforts
- seeking advice on the best control tools and methods for their area and how to use them
- use the dry conditions to their advantage by focusing control efforts around watering points
“If we don’t have everyone on board we are always chasing our tails – because then you’ve got too many havens.
“Unless everybody is going to be a part of it and work together, you are leaving a fair bit of white space, you are leaving a fairly big corridor for animals to move without getting a good chance of any control,” Mr Duncan said.
“It’s all about increasing the level of participation to be effective.”
South Australia’s Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Tim Whetstone said an aerial baiting campaign which will target wild dog hotspots inside the dog fence, between Coober Pedy and the New South Wales border.
“At the same time as the aerial baiting campaign rains down near the dog fence, our co-ordinated strategy will provide a one-off allocation of free baits to all pastoral landholders with additional support from NRM boards, PIRSA and DEW.”
The Wild Dog Action Plan update urged landholders to check out the Glovebox Guide for Managing Wild Dogs, A Field Guide to Poison Baiting: Dogs and Foxes and other resources at PestSmart.
For more information on improving community training, extension and capacity in wild dog management contact National Wild Dog Coordinator Greg Mifsud at [email protected]
Click here to see the wild dog or dingo barrier fence on the map.
Dear Greg, This is very serious problem that Africa is also facing. Livestock is in danger in some parts of Africa.
Australia is a big continent and dogs can’t be controlled/restricted in some areas of the country. Fencing only will not solve this problem.
Regards, Baidwan. Full names required in future for reader comments please Mr Baidwan, as per Sheep Central’s long-standing comments policy: https://www.sheepcentral.com/about-us/sheep-central-comment-policy/ Editor.