Wild dog progress on the Alstonville Plateau
22 November 2017
In response to an escalation of wild dog activity in the Alstonville area, North Coast Local Land Services has been working with the community and local stakeholders to address the problem, with very positive results.
Following community concerns about wild dogs impacting wildlife, attacks on domestic dogs and livestock, a community meeting was held with nearly 100 attendees in late July. Following the meeting, North Coast Local Land Services has undertaken landholder training and a total of 18 properties have undertaken a group baiting program across the Alstonville plateau area.
Tony Heffernan, Senior Biosecurity Officer said, “We are pleased with the enthusiasm and uptake of the program allowing for the fact that there are a lot of smaller holdings in that peri urban area.”
A major part of effective wild dog control is to have effective community engagement and people actively engaged in wild dog control in a proactive way. Traditionally, landholders impacted by wild dogs have been established livestock producers on large landholdings. With urban spread into rural areas and the increase in the number of lifestyle properties, it is increasingly the peri-urban fringe who are now being impacted by wild dog issues.
Tony continued, “In a recent survey of residents in peri-urban areas, participants told us they are primarily concerned about the impact that wild dogs have on wildlife with one survey participant suggesting that they had seen more wildlife since baiting programs had been undertaken.
This reflects the experience in the Whian Whian area that has a similar landscape to the Alstonville plateau. The Whian Whian group has been active for several years in an area with horticulture and livestock producers.
Tony said of Whian Whian group, “That group is also focused on wildlife conservation along with livestock protection and we are hoping to grow the Alstonville plateau program into a long standing program similar to their approach.”
Dean Chamberlain, Team Leader Invasive Species, said, “North Coast Local Land Services provides a free Vertebrate Pest Training (VPT) course to landholders which provides participants with information relevant to the available control methods and practical skills to improve wild dog control.
“The VPT course has been provided to over 1000 landholders since it began in 2010 and, as it provides a five year accreditation, previous participants should check to see if their training is still current and contact their local Biosecurity about updating the qualification if required.
Residents who have seen wild dog activity or have been impacted are encouraged to report it to North Coast Local Land Services. Additionally, landholders interested in participating in a wild dog group are encouraged to contact their local North Coast Local Land Services Biosecurity Officer to find out how to be involved.
Tony Heffernan, Senior Biosecurity Officer, Phone 0412 769 193
More than 100 Alstonville plateau residents attended the community meeting, leading to many participating in training and group baiting programs.