SA pastoralists assured of privacy protections in pest scan systems

Sheep Central, February 17, 2023

SOUTH Australian pastoralists have been assured their privacy is protected in making reports on the FeralScan and WildDogScan app systems.

A National Wild Dog Management Plan release said the landholders could have confidence in data security on the systems.

FeralScan® is a community pest animal recording and management tool that incorporates WildDogScan®. Pastoralists and land managers record wild dog activity, control and livestock attacks on the systems, recording sightings, tracks, impacts from pests, photographs and control activities.

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board Marla-Oodnadatta and Kingoonya community landscape officer Hamish Longbottom said group members had undertaken training in the FeralScan® app over the past two years, but concerns around data privacy had meant some people in the district were reluctant to use the resource.

“We strongly encourage people to use FeralScan®, as a trusted and secure national platform for pest animal recording.

“If people have pests on their properties, the best way to receive assistance is to start recording and reporting data about the pest in a formal way through FeralScan®,” he said.

Mr Longbottom said although wild dog activity had been generally low across the Marla-Oodnadatta district in the far north-west corner of South Australia, it was vitally important for land managers not to become complacent and to monitor for wild dogs and record any evidence or sightings.

“We can use data that people record in FeralScan® for planning with our funding, and also to help organise control programs across multiple properties – we then have more information to use rather than a few random reports here and there,” Mr Longbottom said.

FeralScan® national coordinator Peter West from the NSW Department of Primary Industries, delivered a webinar on using the app to pastoralists across the district in August.

“We showed people how they can easily enter information about pest animals a nd choose to either share that information with others, or keep information private,” Mr West said.

“As a result of the webinar, many pastoralists are now using FeralScan® regularly to record information about pests in their local area, and they now understand their data is managed securely.”

Mr West said it was important for landholders to understand the information they record into FeralScan® is kept confidential and secure.

All personal details are kept secure and sensitive information – such as pest control activities – are simply not visible on the FeralScan® map.

“FeralScan® was developed by landholders for landholders, it is easy to use and freely available.

“It is hosted by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions and all data is stored safely in a secure database within Australia,” Mr West said.

“The data people record belongs to themselves.

“All photographs and data are protected so landholders and pest controllers can have complete confidence their data is managed responsibly,” he said.

“If anyone has concerns about the way information is managed, we are happy to provide further information or a demonstration to allay their concerns.”

FeralScan® currently hosts over 320,000 records and 41,000 photographs from people Australia-wide with over 59,000 records added in the past 12 months. There are more than 40,500 registered users of FeralScan® and it supports 631 private groups (such as landholder syndicates and pest control groups).

WildDogScan® alone contains 157,200 records from land managers and professional pest controllers working for biosecurity organisations and landholder groups.

Further information about pest management for the South Australian pastoral community will be outlined at the Cricket and Conversations pastoral bootcamp at Coober Pedy on Friday, March 31, 2023.

The Cricket and Conversations will include residents of Coober Pedy residents and surrounding areas in the Marla Oodnadatta district. Up to eight presenters will speak on pastoral specific information, sustainability, health and wellbeing, snake awareness and safety.


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