Wild dog control program progresses in the Great Lakes area

Landholders in the Great Lakes region are being encouraged to play their part in controlling wild dogs, following recent progress to control populations of the pest animal.

Bulahdelah landholder Art Brown says landholders and government agencies are making inroads into reducing wild dog populations in the Bulahdelah area with 57 dogs shot or trapped this year.

“We’re making progress but we still have a long way to go,” Mr Brown said.

“We’re aiming to cull around 70 per cent of wild dog populations each year.

“To do this, we need a lot more landholders to participate,” Mr Brown, who has been co-ordinating wild dog control in the area for many years said.

“Despite the good response we’ve had from landholders so far we are still a long way short of the landholder participation that is needed.

“We need more landholders to gain trapping skills so we have a balance of control methods in our tool-kit to tackle these cunning pests.

“Many landholders also have a tendency to tackle the issue as individuals.

“Wild dogs don’t respect landholding boundaries however so we need to work together in small clusters to be effective.”

Two co-ordinated ground baiting and trapping programs were undertaken in the Manning area during the autumn breeding season as part of an integrated approach to control wild dogs in the region.

Co-ordinated by Hunter Local Land Services, the collaborative programs were undertaken with National Parks and Wildlife Services, NSW Forestry Corporation, MidCoast Council and landholders.

Mid Coast Wild Dog Association treasurer Julie Steepe encouraged land owners and managers to work together to successfully manage wild dog populations.

“Effective control of wild dogs requires a coordinated, cross-tenure approach.

“We encourage landholders to get on board with control activities,” Ms Steepe said.

“We’re aiming to get as many landholders as possible on board to undertake ongoing control activities on their land, and participate in regular group programs with Hunter Local Land Services and the wild dog associations in order to control populations of these destructive pests,” she said.

Hunter Local Land Services provides regular training in control techniques, and has this year trained 86 landholders in baiting and trapping, and issued approximately 1800 wild dog baits to landholders in the area.

Around 90 landholders are actively involved in culling dogs in the Bulahdelah district, working in small clusters with neighbouring properties.

A steering group consisting of landholders and representatives from government agencies meets regularly to plan control activities.

“It’s absolutely heartbreaking for a farmer when they have stock killed by wild dogs, not to mention the productivity losses,” Mr Brown said.

“This is not a problem that is going away.

“The bigger the area we have covered and the more landholders we have involved the better we’ll be able to reduce the risk to livestock and humans.”

To report wild dog sightings and related livestock attacks, for further details about upcoming baiting or trapping training events, or for advice and assistance with wild dog control, contact Hunter Local Land Services biosecurity ranger Laurie Mullen on 0407 785 007 or visit www.hunter.lls.nsw.gov.au.