A WILD dog bounty of $120 will be re-introduced in northern Victoria and Gippsland next year, the State Government announced today.
Collection of wild dog skins will occur from March and October 2017 in controlled zones across northern Victoria and Gippsland.
The government also announced it will establish a new ministerial advisory committee on wild dog management and it will continue the fox bounty of $10. A wild dog bounty of $100 was discontinued in October last year.
The new Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee will be chaired by Member for Eastern Victoria, Harriet Shing, and will have up to six additional members representing a cross-section of stakeholders.
The new committee’s input will complement the work of the Wild Dog Action Plan Delivery Group, which monitors implementation of the Action Plan for Managing Wild Dogs in Victoria. Click here to get Sheep Central story links sent to your email inbox.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said farmers and landholders tell the State Government that foxes and wild dogs are a huge issue for them.
“We’re supporting farmers across regional Victoria with a comprehensive suite of measures which, importantly, gives local communities a voice on how it should be managed.
Bounty complements integrated program investment
The new measures follow an independent evaluation of Victoria’s wild dog management program, which also includes poison baiting, trapping, exclusion fencing, hunting and appropriate animal husbandry. The bounty initiatives will complement a $6.2 million four year scheme announced by the Victorian Government earlier this month to manage foxes and wild dogs, including a move to increase aerial baiting for wild dogs to twice a year.
The government plans to drop around 4000 fresh meat baits along 400km of public land in north east and east Gippsland areas, including at Bullhead, Burrowa, Wabba, Angora/Cobungra, Bindi and Wonangatta/Punchen Budweid. After mid-October, the next round of aerial baiting is scheduled for autumn 2017.
VFF to seek committee position
The wild dog measures have been welcomed by the Victorian Farmers Federation, with VFF wild dog spokesperson Peter Star claiming the previous bounty program was extremely successful.
Mr Star said 587 pelts were claimed in 2013-14, which was on top of the 480 dogs caught by the Government’s wild dog controllers.
“I didn’t understand why the Government got rid of the bounty, considering it resulted in so many dogs being taken out of the landscape, but it’s great to see they’ve put more resources into the program for next year,” he said.
“The reality is, the job is not done.”
Mr Star said he will be seeking a position on the new advisory committee when expressions of interest are sought from next month.
Advisory committee to build on integrated approach
Member for Eastern Victoria Harriet Shing said the advisory committee will build on what’s already been done as part of an integrated approach to wild dog management.
The advisory committee will make recommendations on the use of the bounty, and evaluate buffer zones to balance dingo protection and prevention of stock losses from dog attacks. The State Government said Victoria’s wild dog control program also included measures to protect dingoes – who play an important role in the natural environment controlling foxes and feral cats – such as 3km buffer zones on public land.
“The stress, stock loss and costs that wild dogs cause for producers in Gippsland, north east and north west Victoria is enormous.
“Community input, knowledge and engagement are crucial in tackling wild dog populations and reducing the damage they cause.”
Those wishing to participate in the wild dog bounty must understand where wild dogs may be controlled in Victoria. Detailed information will be available on the Agriculture Victoria website: www.agriculture.vic.gov.au
More information on wild dog management and aerial baiting: www.agriculture.vic.gov.au/wilddogs
Sources: Minister for Agriculture, Victorian Farmers Federation.