Bait options on the way

15 Jul, 2014 02:00 AM
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We ran the trials we needed to do, and that information can now underpin good science-based policy

RESOLUTIONS to farmers’ frustrations with current 1080 bait regimes might soon come in the form of more baits, and new baits.

More baits, because Australian Wool Innovation-funded research has shown that the currently-legislated density for aerial baiting of 10 baits per kilometre is inadequate to stop dog populations growing.

New baits, because the long-awaited PAPP toxin, intended to supplement 1080, is slowly moving through the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) labyrinthine approval process.

Invasive Animals CRC researcher Guy Ballard said the bait density question was answered by the most rigorous study into the question to date.

More than 130 wild dogs were fitted with GPS collars and tracked through five years of wild dog aerial baiting programs. Baits were laid at the current APVMA-approved rate of 10 baits per kilometre, and the old standard of 40 baits/km. Control areas with no baits were also monitored.

“At 10 baits per kilometre, you get 55 per cent reduction of wild dogs, which falls short of the AVPMA’s own standard for control,” Dr Ballard said.

“Forty baits exceeeds it: we get over 90 per cent knockdown of dogs, and over 90 per cent knockdown of foxes, too.

“It exposes that we just didn’t have good information when we legislated for 10 baits per kilometre. We ran the trials we needed to do, and that information can now underpin good science-based policy.”

The wild dog control community is also investing a lot of hope in a new toxin, para-aminopropiophenone or PAPP, which offers an alternative to 1080, especially close to habitation.

PAPP has two qualities: it kills more humanely than 1080 - its action has been likened to carbon monoxide poisoning, which has been likened to going to sleep - and it has an antidote. It is effective on dogs, foxes and cats.

“Where there are gaps in the control program because people are understandably concerned about pet or working dogs, and we’re not getting the broadscale control we need. PAPP is capable of filling the gaps,” Dr Ballard said.

“People can participate in control programs, but if a dog takes a bait while they are out mustering, they can reverse it with no ill effect.”

PAPP registration is ongoing within APVMA. Dr Ballard said “it would be nice to see it next year”.

Helen Cathles, Invasive Animals CRC chair and a grazier, with her husband Ian, at Wee Jasper, NSW, said that how Australia manages its pest animals is becoming as important as a good outcome.

“We export most of our agricultural produce, so we need to have a good humane approach to management and control of invasive species,” Mrs Cathles said.

“If we don’t, people are able to use anything as a trade embargo. We have to be careful about how we do things.”

Between the National Plan, revised aerial baiting strategies and other emerging technologies, Dr Ballard is confident that the wild dog problem can be brought under control.

“We can do it in a considered and balanced way - we can conserve dingoes and manage wild dogs. We can find a balanced solution by involving the various parties involved in management, listening to what they have to say, and underpinning it all with good science.”

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FarmOnline
Matthew Cawood

Matthew Cawood

is the national science and environment writer for Fairfax Agricultural Media
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READER COMMENTS

piece maker
15/07/2014 11:52:43 AM

So Australian Wool Innovation has managed to fund a project that any farmer could have given them the answer to free of charge. Meanwhile the destruction of livestock continues unabated while bureaucracy thinks up more unjustifiable impediments that make it harder for farmers to deal with livestock predation.
Jacky
15/07/2014 1:19:24 PM

Sounds like a sale pitch - give us more money...
Chick Olsson
28/07/2014 2:10:00 AM

Why is PAPP taking so long? APVMA needs a rocket up its backside.
Broken_Gate
29/08/2014 4:42:00 PM

There is a fundamental problem getting Wild Dogs to eat Bait. Know Your Product - the Wild Dog hunts and "surplus kills" with most meat protein wasted, why you ask? Because their victims are stressed on purpose to engorge the muscle with Adrenalin, it gives a reward to the Wild Dog on eating, then as it is a short lived hormone they seek another. That Adrenalin is filtered to the urine or scent to reinforce their territory, finally the Alpha Wild Dog will stress a victim much more and "pocket kill" by taking a kidney for much stronger territorial control. KYP - Bait has no Adrenalin !
Woolly menace
17/06/2015 10:34:40 AM

Recently I lost a dog to a 1080 bait carried onto a property by something that I was asked to control feral pigs on. Anyone who has gone through this knows what a gut wrenching event it is , I have no wish to relate the symptoms but any new bait that can be effective and has a antidote has to be looked at and throughly tested I would have done anything to save my dog and paid the cost as it takes years to train top hunting dogs and the waste due to this old bait makes me sick also the flow effect into the food chain with birds ect been taken.

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