Aerial baiting programs, targeting wild dogs, are being launched across NSW during the next few months in a community-wide, co-ordinated bid to reduce attacks on livestock and protect native fauna.
The programs will be rolled out across seven of the state’s 11 Local Land Service regions with the Northern Tablelands preparing for its largest campaign yet.
This unique landscape of gorges and plateaus features in a new documentary-style YouTube video on aerial baiting produced by the National Wild Dog Action Plan (NWDAP).
The plan enshrines the guiding principles for wild dog management Australia wide.
Greg Mifsud, National Wild Dog Management Coordinator based with the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, said without the broad scale, community-driven pest animal control programs such as these, livestock production in the region would be unsustainable.
“Wild dogs take an enormous toll on agricultural production, on producers’ mental health and wellbeing and on our most iconic small native animals,” he said.
Australian Wool Innovation Northern NSW wild dog facilitator David Worsley said that at least 3870 head of livestock were reported killed by wild dogs and more than 1000 mauled in the Northern Tablelands between June 2015 and June 2017.
However, he said continued commitment from landholders and public land managers to long term control programs is helping.
“While wild dogs continue to pose a significant problem to landholders in the region, we are seeing positive signs of reduced stock attacks and improved lambing percentages in areas with effective, ongoing control,” he said.
“However, problems still exist where we have minimal long-term baiting programs.”
David said community-wide participation in Northern Tablelands’ wild dog management groups continues to grow with more than 20 local management plans now in place, covering almost 400 private properties, national parks and forestry lands.
Local Land Services Invasive Species and Plant Health Team Leader Mark Tarrant said the Northern Tablelands autumn baiting program was a logistical triumph for the communities involved.
“The planning process is enormous,” he said. “We’ve met with 28 wild dog groups, held individual meetings with landholders, used FeralScan information, undertaken lots of GIS (geographic information system) mapping and adjusted bait lines.
“This broad scale, co-ordinated program, carried out over two weeks, is the backbone for ongoing control measures such as ground baiting, trapping and shooting carried out throughout the year.
“Without this program livestock production across the Northern Tablelands would be under significant threat and research indicates the only places where good populations of quolls still exist is where there has been long term control of dogs,” he said
Image caption: Landholders preparing meats baits laced with 1080 toxin for landscape scale, strategic and coordinated feral predator control across the region (supplied by Dave Worsley)