NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) researchers have alerted local landholders to the evidence of unprecedented wild dog activity in the New England area.
DPI Vertebrate Pest Research Unit researcher, Guy Ballard, recently tracked a wild dog from Pinkett to the Baldersleigh area using satellite technology.
“We alerted local landholders, and now we are working with the landholders and New England Livestock Pest and Health Authority (LHPA) to intensify a group baiting program targeting wild dogs,” Dr Ballard said.
“A GPS tracking collar allowed us to identify one wild dog in the Baldersleigh area, its presence there may have otherwise gone undetected for much longer.
“That dog, collared as part of an Australian Wool Innovation aerial baiting study, travelled more than 75 kilometres over a period of five weeks.”
“Records show a dog in Queensland travelled 560 kilometres in 31 days and another dog was found to have ranged over a 250-kilometre area, between Victoria and Yass.”
While these records may be the extremes of wild dog movements, the scientific evidence shows what wild dogs are capable of and why New England landholders need to be on their guard.
DPI researcher, Peter Fleming, said wild dog activity has been detected in areas where wild dogs have not been seen for generations.
“Since 2010 reports of wild dogs have come from graziers at Loomberah, Kingstown, Woolbrook, Yarrowyck, Baldersleigh and Puddledock,” Dr Fleming said.
“I grew up west of Walcha – good sheep country with no wild dogs. In the past 18 months reports indicate that 12 wild dogs were shot in the Woolbrook and Walcha Road areas.
“This level of dog activity is a real concern and we’re urging landholders to be on the alert for any signs of wild dogs – even those in areas not considered ‘dog country’.”
The DPI has called on landholders to be on the lookout for signs of wild dogs and ensure they put in safeguards to protect livestock from wild dog attack.
According to DPI research, group baiting programs are the most effective way for landholders to manage wild dogs and foxes as group action ensures a strategic approach to target pest animals which may range across several properties.
Landholders should contact their local LHPA rangers to take advantage of the current baiting programs underway prior to spring lambing and report any unusual dog footprints or livestock which have been mauled or killed by dogs to the LHPA.
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