October 1, 2013
Landholders are being reminded to report wild dog incidents in the coming months as wild dog activity increases over spring.
Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) Biosecurity Operations Manager for Victoria East, Michael Bretherton said wild dogs tended to move around more in spring and information on sightings was crucial to assist with control efforts.
“We need people to be vigilant in reporting wild dog activity to their local DEPI senior wild dog controller at this time of year to assist the planning of control activities, such as baiting and trapping,” Mr Bretherton said.
“When attacks or sightings are reported, they are captured in our wild dog activity database to inform on-ground control actions and to monitor the effectiveness of the wild dog control program.”
After receiving a wild dog incident report, the Senior Wild Dog Controller then determines an appropriate response which could include trapping, baiting and opportunistic shooting.
Mr Bretherton said not all wild dog incident reports initiated an on-ground response and that some livestock deaths could be attributed to domestic dogs, foxes or disease.
“While DEPI prioritises wild dog incident reports involving livestock that have been harassed, maimed or killed, reports of wild dog sightings are still recorded as they build critical intelligence in determining wild dog activity and behaviour,” he said.
In the last financial year there were 607 reports of wild dog activity across Gippsland and the North East. Of these, 494 reports involved stock that had been harassed, maimed or killed, which triggered a priority response by DEPI.
In 2012-13, over 18,000 baits were laid by DEPI in addition to the 25,000 baits that community wild dog control groups deployed. Over this period DEPI also trapped 449 dogs.
Since the Victorian Fox and Wild Dog Bounty commenced in October 2011, hunters have also handed in a total of 760 wild dog pelts for which they have been paid a total of $54,600.
“We are not able to get rid of all wild dogs, but by working with the community and landholders we can minimise the impact they have on livestock,” Mr Bretherton said.
“Community wild dog control spring baiting programs have also just kicked off and baits are now available, free of charge, for those involved.
“These programs involve landowners working together at a local level to coordinate baiting efforts on both private and public land.”
In Victoria there are 15 Community Wild Dog Control groups – six in the North East and nine in Gippsland
“With spring lambing underway, there are some precautions farmers can take to minimise stock loss, for example smaller lambing paddocks which allow easier monitoring and keeping lambing ewes closer to the house where possible,” Mr Bretherton said.
Landholders seeking more information on how to reduce the risk of stock loss from wild dogs should contact their local DEPI office who will put them in contact with their local wild dog controller or community wild dog control coordinator.