Rural

Communities winning war against dogs

Collaboration within communities and the targeted use of new and old control methods is helping land managers win the war against wild dogs by reducing stress to farmers, enhancing productivity and increasing biodiversity.Members of the National Wild Dog Action Plan are confident that collaboration and coordination is the key to successful wild dog control, with Geoff Power, Chair of the Action Plan’s Stakeholder Group saying wild dog impacts on livestock are an insidious issue.

“The threat of attacks gets under peoples’ skins but working alone will not help them with this stress. We have seen that acting as part of a community – even when a few sheep are still being lost – gives people confidence to keep achieving better control.

“No individual landholder can fully benefit from wild dog control on their own property if their neighbours are not taking similar action. Pest management is the responsibility of all land managers in Australia”.

Peter Star, member of the Victorian Farmers Federation Land Management Committee said his community is achieving great inroads into decreasing the number of attacks and stock losses due to a coordinated control program, which covers North Eastern Victorian.

“The community baiting program, funded by Australian Wool Innovation and run in unison with the Victorian Governments Wild Dog Control Program, has achieved widespread, positive outcomes in both North East Victoria and Gippsland, which has included increases in native fauna populations such as emus, goannas and even the endangered spotted tail quoll.

“Some of the best managed farms in the area are those that have accepted that wild dog control is best achieved through coordination with neighbours and using a range of control methods. Farmers using electric wild dog exclusion fencing accompanied with an extensive coordinated baiting program or guardian animals have had enormous success in decreasing the number of stock losses and attacks on their properties.”

Ben Cory, a Queensland Sheep and Cattle producer and member of the Southern Downs Wild Dog Advisory Group said we are achieving extremely good participation in our community-led wild dog control programs.

“We have found that by simply talking to landholders in the area and coordinating our baiting programs so that everyone is baiting at the same time, we are seeing a drop in the number of wild dogs in the district and controlling a much larger space than individuals could do on their own.

“Participation is the key, and we are achieving this by simple communication, regular meetings, ringing each other up and identifying problem areas so that we can solve the problem together.”

The National Wild Dog Action Plan is promoting and supporting community driven management across landscapes to minimise the negative impacts of wild dogs on agricultural, biodiversity and social well-being.

There is a substantive investment by individuals, local and regional control groups, state and territory Governments, the Federal Government and a range of other organisations ensuring adequate support is available to those who require it and a coordinated response to wild dog control is being achieved.

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