INFORMATION sharing and interstate collaboration have emerged as key strategies in the ongoing battle against wild dogs in Australia.
At last month’s AgQuip in Gunnedah, NSW, Primary Industries Minister Katrina Hodgkinson announced a state-wide approach to wild dog management, with individual Local Land Services (LLS) teams sharing insights.
Ms Hodgkinson also encouraged livestock farmers to “get together” and share success stories in tackling the national problem of wild dogs and livestock.
“Wild dogs are a major problem for many of our livestock industries, which is why the cross-regional team leading the wild dog response has been working to clearly define the role that Local Land Services will play,” she said.
“The team has considered the newly launched National Wild Dog Action Plan and will provide recommendations to sharpen the focus of the NSW Wild Dog Strategy to ensure regions adopt a common approach to supporting their local Wild Dog Action Group.
"Say you are down in the Kosciuszko, and you have worked out a wild dog management formula that's really working in your area, but there's also a big problem in Tamworth, (this plan is about) making sure that information gets shared, just in case it might work there as well,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
According to North West LLS team leader Jackie Barker, wild dog management was a pressing issue for local producers, and a cross border approach would bring benefits.
“Dogs don’t know boundaries and we need to be proactive in our management and share information to manage the problem.
“Different regions will have varying experiences of different behaviours of wild dogs, generating different responses and control measures, so it is important that we can all learn from that,” Ms Barker said.
Victoria's wild dog strategy
NSW’s announcement follows a similar initiative from the Victorian government, which has established work plans and operational targets for private and public land managers in each of the State’s 15 wild dog management zones.
Victorian Parliamentary Secretary for Primary Industries and chairman of the Wild Dog Action Plan Delivery Group Bill Sykes said the work plans were developed through community consultation and formed the spine of the State’s wild dog strategy.
“The community workshops captured local knowledge and experience, and involved the development of community approaches for wild dog control in each of the 15 management zones.”
However, land managers from NSW and Victoria are joining together to tackle wild dogs along their shared border.
Cross border collaboration
The South East-Far East Gippsland Cross-Border Community Wild Dog Working Group (SEFEG) was formed at a recent community meeting in Delegate, NSW, to take action on this important issue.
According to NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) area manager Franz Peters, who chaired the meeting, the new group would stay in frequent contact and meet annually.
“This was agreed by members of the Bombala and Far South Coast Community Wild Dog Working Group, landholders from the Bendoc-Bonang communities, trappers and other staff from the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) and landholder representatives of the Corrowong Merriangaah Wild Dog Working Group.”
SEFEG endorsed a new zone and will now draft maps, baiting plans and details of priority actions.
The meeting underlined the need to differentiate between wild dog management and dingo protection in the Victorian cross border zone to reflect the NSW Pest Order.
According to DEPI's biosecurity area leader for wild dogs in Gippsland Vaughn Kingston, DEPI has a trial in place allowing NSW producers to cross the border and access baits at the same cost if they are accredited in either State.
Information regarding the recent Delegate meeting can be obtained from the NPWS Bombala Area office.