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Autumn breeding season signals time to act on wild dogs

Wild dog with tracking collar fitted identified in Bucca NSWA coordinated strategy by North Coast Local Land Services to address wild dog population growth is continuing with programs due to commence in the Autumn wild dog breeding season.  Wild dog activity levels peak during the autumn breeding season and taking action now provides a greater potential to reduce breeding populations and therefore future impacts.

It is a common belief that the only impacts from wild dogs relate to attacks or deaths of domestic livestock. Unfortunately this is no longer the case with changing land uses and urban sprawl changing the wild dog-human interface. Many landholders now carry out control in areas under horticulture, for protection of wildlife and protection of domestic pets - particularly in the peri-urban areas.

North Coast Local Land Services programs follow best practice guidelines by adopting a tenure neutral approach and using a range of control techniques including ground & aerial baiting, trapping and the use of technology. The tenure neutral approach brings in all land managers such as landholders, National Parks and Wildlife Service and Forestry Corporation enabling control to be carried out on a landscape level.

The Commonwealth Government Drought Support On-farm Pest Management Grant Program gave North Coast Local Land Services the ability to undertake widespread spring baiting programs in the Kyogle and Kempsey local government regions.  The work in these areas will also be extended into the important Autumn period.

Effective wild dog management involves a combination of control methods and strategies.  Highlighting the importance of a tenure neutral approach to baiting, 78 Kyogle properties have participated in coordinated group baiting.  This program covered over 15,000 hectares and involved over 1100 baits.  This baiting was supported by a contracted trapper who has undertaken over 600 hours work in the Kyogle region.

In the Kempsey region aerial baiting was implemented in the Upper Macleay, covering over 120 kms and distributed 5000 baits, supported by 100 days of a contracted trapper.  The Kempsey program gained the cooperation of National Parks & Wildlife Service, Forestry Corporation and private landholders.

North Coast Local Land Services has also offered extensive Verterbrate Pest Induction Training, with over 30 landholders trained in the use of 1080/Pindone recently.  Training days are scheduled for Kyogle in the near future and landholders are encouraged to make contact with their North Coast Local Land Services Biosecurity Officers to find out more.

Landholders attending Verterbrate TrainingDean Chamberlain, Team Leader Invasive Species, said, "Capacity building for the local landholders is also paramount for continued wild dog control into the future once this particular funding comes to a close.  We've been offering training to ensure landholders are appropriately skilled."

The peri-urban wild dog problem has been increasing in recent years. In order to better understand this problem North Coast Local Land Services is working with NSW Department Primary Industries, Invasive Animals CRC, Forestry Corporation and Coffs Harbour City Council on a project that is looking at wild dog diet and DNA to determine the level of hybridisation. Remote cameras and GPS collaring will also be used to gain knowledge on wild dog numbers and movements within the area.

"North Coast Local Land Services Senior Biosecurity Officers will work with new and existing individuals and landholder groups, many of whom are already involved in cooperative pest management in these areas", said Dean.

"The wider community benefit greatly from the efforts of those who actively and regularly partake in pest animal control and this funding will help us in continuing to support their efforts", he added.

"We encourage all interested landholders to contact their local North Coast Local Land Services office to find out how to be involved", he said.

Media contact:            Dean Chamberlain, Team Leader, Invasive Species Phone 0427 458 590

Photo caption: Landholders participating in Vertebrate Pest Induction Training.
Photo caption: Wild Dog with tracking collar fitted Image supplied by Jessica Sparkes.