FOX baits have been substituted with more 15,000 wild dog baits for the first time in 30 years to achieve improved conservation outcomes across South Australia’s north in the in the flagship program Bounceback.
In December last year, the first collaborative landscape-scale wild dog program between the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA) and Bounceback, a Department for Environment and Water (DEW) initiative was delivered.
The SA State Wild Dog Coordinator Heather Miller said PIRSA supplied Bounceback with 15,000 wild dog baits. They replaced the fox baits normally used in their central and northern Flinders Ranges aerial baiting programs which covered National Parks and nine surrounding pastoral leases.
The wild dog baits contain 6 milligrams of 1080, double the amount in fox baits, offering advantages for efficiency in controlling dogs, foxes and cats in the one pass.
DEW’s Bounceback project officer Geoff Axford welcomed the collaboration between the organisations as it provided efficiencies for their program and controlled both wild dogs and foxes at a lower cost.
“The Bounceback program deploys five baits per kilometre of flight path and the transects are one kilometre apart. In all, wild dog strength baits were delivered to over 300,000 hectares.
“DEW and PIRSA also collaborate on the DEW Bounceback bait making facilities with both organisations contributing to facility upgrades for the preparation of the semi-dried baits using beef, feral horse and camel meat at Oraparinna,” Mr Axford said.
It is the first time wild dog baits have been substituted for fox baits in this flagship program delivered by DEW for three decades.
“PIRSA and SA Arid Lands Landscape Board (SAAL) have collaborated for many years on wild dog management through their wild dog Biteback program but this is the first time PIRSA has worked with DEW Bounceback progam to support them to replace their fox baits with wild dog baits as part of their twice annual aerial control program, which is focused on conservation outcomes,” Heather Miller said.
“Thanks to funding from the State and Commonwealth governments, we delivered this first trial in the central and northern Flinders Ranges and we aim to progress into other areas of the Bounceback program.”
SA Arid Lands team leader, landscape operations and projects Greg Patrick said with the landscape-level controls carried out under the SAAL Board’s Biteback and the DEW Bounceback programs, landholders were reporting greater diversity and reduced fox and wild dog numbers on their properties.
“SA Arid Lands Landscape Board (SAAL) is working with National Parks and Wildlife Service through a Bounceback and Beyond project, which is an extension of Bounceback,” Mr Patrick said.
“The initiative links private and public land managers to work together to support the reintroduction of threatened species such as western quolls, and brush tailed possums.
“Project activities focus on reducing feral goat, fox and rabbit numbers which helps regenerate native vegetation and habitat for threatened species,” he said.
“SAAL’s wild dog control program Biteback also provides significant benefits by reducing predators in the landscape, enabling the native species to be reintroduced to national parks.”
The Bounceback and Beyond program aims to reduce the impacts of foxes, rabbits and feral goats across the landscape for wildlife and livestock, and to improve the conservation status of a range of native flora and fauna species.
Mr Patrick said that despite wild dog numbers being at an historic low since 2009, Biteback was working with landholders to continue to participate in ongoing ground baiting.
He welcomed the initiative between PIRSA and DEW to aerial bait with wild dog strength baits to manage both wild dogs and foxes impacting the threatened species.
“It is the first time in 30 years that wild dog baits have been used in the place of fox baits in a conservation-based program in South Australia.
“Where people have been consistently baiting for their wild dogs, they are rarely seeing foxes, and there has been an increase in biodiversity,” Mr Patrick said.
“The Biteback program is also working with PIRSA on three wild dog aerial baiting programs planned for February, March and May 2023 targeting inaccessible areas and those areas where wild dog activity is being reported from the NSW Border to Coober Pedy.”
Read a case study on Bounceback here.
The poisoning of any animal with 1080 bait is the most cruel way to kill an animal. The suffering animals endure from this poison is a death sentence over several days of extreme pain. Not to mention other non-targeted animals that will also die from eating this poison.
What about the birds? They will eat the poison also. They don’t talk about innocent living things ingesting this 1080. It’s shameful.
The people who make these decisions are not human doing this type of suffering whatever the species. The only way is to shoot the wild dogs whatever the cost and no poison is to be used. It’s disgraceful. Ask the RSPCA. All creatures great and small. They do not recommend this cruelty.
It’s about time we had an Australia-wide standardised scheme to really do any good with feral problems. It’s waste of time, effort and money tiptoeing around with non-aligned programs. Do the task properly and eradicate the unwanted.
It is pleasing to read that there is a renewed effort being made to decrease wild dog, fox and rabbit numbers in Australia, with the obvious positive impact for native species. It is disappointing that no mention is made of feral cat control. In South Australia, around 30 years ago, a Dog and Cat Management Working Party report was issued, highlighting the destruction of native species by feral cats. That report recommended a series of initiatives that would have resulted in better control of cats and a dramatic reduction in numbers of cats and feral cats. Adoption of most of the recommendations was left to individual councils and it appears that few, if any, have adopted the key reccommendations of spaying of all cats not registered for breeding, and 24-hour containment of cats within the owner’s property. These initiatives were intended to dramatically reduce feral cat numbers with a dramatic positive impact for native species. The reduction in rabbit numbers has apparently resulted in an even bigger impact of feral cats, foxes and wild dogs on native species.
When are governments going to get serious about cat control?
It’s better to not have dingoes included in this ‘wild dog’ group. You have to have an apex predator to control fox, rabbit and cat populations. The government should fund better fencing for farmers.