A National Wild Dog Action Plan has been released for public comment, following six months of intensive development work.
The draft plan, a collaboration involving industry, government and researchers, set out with the goal of harnessing all the work being undertaken to manage wild dogs across Australia and to use this to develop a nationally coordinated approach.
A 14-member committee comprising industry, government, animal welfare and research organisations has guided the development of the draft plan, designed to promote and support community-driven action for landscape-scale wild dog management.
WoolProducers Australia president, Geoff Power said the plan would guide implementation of a nationally-agreed framework focussing on a strategic and risk-based approach to wild dog management.
“It will have an emphasis on humane, safe and effective management techniques and the mitigation of the impacts of wild dogs at appropriate scales,” Mr Power said.
Predation by wild dogs (including dingoes, feral dogs and their hybrids) is increasing and presents substantial adverse economic, environment, social and animal welfare impacts across the Australian mainland. Wild dog incursions are severely affecting the sheep, cattle and goat industries.
Critically, wild dogs are also starting to be a major problem in the peri-urban areas, as their habitat is being encroached by human activity and also the continued cross-breeding between traditional wild dogs and domesticated dogs.
Australian Bureau of Statistics data show the Queensland sheep flock has fallen from 14 million in the 1980s to less than four million in 2007-2008. Since 1990, the number of sheep shorn in Queensland has crashed 92 percent to less than 2 million. While there are a range of reasons why graziers are getting out of sheep, in a large proportion of cases the decision is due to the impact or threat of wild dog predation.
The Northern Territory Cattlemen’s Association estimated the cost of wild dog attacks during 2011-12 to be in the vicinity of $80m, while in NSW losses of $50m per annum have been attributed to wild dogs.
The draft plan covers a multi-faceted approach, seeking to improve national and state coordination and promote best-practice standards across the varying state and regional approaches now in place. It addresses national priorities, seeks to drive innovation, builds partnerships and seeks to achieve broad-scale outcomes.
Mr Power said the stakeholders involved hope the final plan could be used as a model to deliver action against other pests such as foxes, pigs and rabbits – all of which had also proven to cause devastating damage to conservation and production.
- The Exposure Draft materials are available for review and comment on the WoolProducers Australia website, accessible here. The public consultation period will run until October 25.