Australia’s grazing industry now has a united front in its fight against predators, with the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group announcing this week it will replace the previous state-by-state approach with a national control strategy.
Chair of the advisory group and AgForce Sheep & Wool president, Brent Finlay, said recent research indicating wild dogs are travelling up to 7000km a year highlights the need for a coordinated approach to managing all the aspects of the problem.
"The impacts of wild dog attacks on cattle and sheep are direct, but what people don't necessarily see are the secondary effects of dogs - the risk of hydatid disease to humans, the damage that wild dogs do to endangered species and the flow-on cost of wild dogs to the consumer," Mr Finlay said.
"The research on dog movements highlights the importance of the National Advisory group mapping a strategy to eliminate wild dog issues across all borders."
Roger Fletcher, who attended this week's bi-annual NWDMAG meeting in his role as board member of Australian Wool Innovation (AWI), also stressed the importance of tackling the issue on a national basis.
"Wild dogs don't recognise borders and neither should we," he said.
"AWI understands the importance of controlling dogs and that's why we've put substantial funding into wild dogs."
Since its inception in 2007, NWDMAG has been fundamental in providing direction to the National Wild Dog Management facilitator Greg Mifsud, who has taken the coordinated planning approach to producers across western Queensland, north western NSW and North Flinders region of South Australia.
This approach highlights the importance of integrated and strategic management across the landscape and its importance in achieving effective management at the property scale.
The group has also overseen and developed research projects aimed at providing better on-ground control of dogs, including current Caring for our Country proposals, and received funding to develop best practice management manuals for the use of guardian dogs for the protection of livestock.
A key factor in the group’s role of raising the profile of the wild dog issue and taking management options to land managers right across Australia has been establishing collaboration between wild dog management groups, land managers, industry and researchers within and across states.
The group has also worked to secure and expand the management options available to land managers by meeting with government and the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA), and has promoted the development of a nationally-accredited training scheme which provides a standardised approach to vertebrate pest control across the country.
"It is clear that to build on these outcomes, we need all state wild dog groups, land managers, and policy makers to be aware of the problems wild dogs have on producers and the wider community and to understand their individual roles in managing the issue," Mr Finlay said.