This video from Meat and LIvestock Australia's Feedback TV highlights the emergence of a new generation of dog and pig baits that do not contain 1080 and which also have antitdotes. The new baits are designed to significantly curb the threat posed to working dogs during baiting programs and reduce producer resistance to joining community baiting efforts.
Producer groups and local authorities should be planning community baiting programs against wild dogs and foxes now ahead of the spring calving, lambing and kidding season.
A coordinated community approach, with the help of local authorities, is vital to the effectiveness of baiting programs, according to National Wild Dog Coordinator Greg Mifsud.
“To be effective, control programs need to be delivered over a broad area and this means conducting baiting programs in conjunction with neighbours,” Mr Mifsud said.
“Baiting in isolation results in re-colonisation from other areas and properties that don’t control foxes and wild dogs severely impacts on the success of the overall program.
“Even landholders not directly affected should take part.”
In Spring, a community baiting program was essential, he said. With a more coordinated, uniform approach producers stood to benefit from significantly improved weaning rates.
Mr Mifsud said that before spring, the use of several control techniques such as spotlighting and trapping in between baiting was important.
“One technique on its own won’t result in effective control and it’s important to take early action,” he said.
“If wild dogs and foxes are present then wild dog strength baits are needed because fox baits (with less 1080) are unlikely to kill wild dogs.”
“Even if producers don’t have lambing, kidding or calving occurring, they should still take part in baiting programs to ensure greater control is achieved over the whole region.
"If wild dogs are left in isolated areas, they’ll soon move into the land that has been previously cleared of predators.”
Report wild dog activity
A run of improved seasons has created better conditions for wild dog and fox populations to increase in recent years, prompting authorities to urge landholders to actively report wild dog activity or livestock losses.
In NSW, the director of Invasive Species with the DPI, Glen Saunders, said wild dog populations were spreading right along the Great Dividing Range.
“We are also receiving increasing reports from both coastal and western areas, including Bourke, Wanaaring, Tibooburra, White Cliffs and Broken Hill,” Dr Saunders said.
“Landholders play a critical role in the fight against wild dogs and are being urged to formally report all wild dog activity to their local Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) or local wild dog association.
“Accurate information on wild dog activity will help NSW authorities plan control operations, including aerial baiting, which is coordinated by the LHPAs.
“This data will also inform the comprehensive wild dog management strategy that NSW DPI, along with the LHPA, NSW Farmers and other agencies, are now finalising.”
NSW Farmers’ President, Fiona Simson, reinforced the view that a strategic, coordinated management regime is required.
“Wild dogs are a whole of community issue and it’s important that all land managers – not just farmers – are monitoring wild dogs and reporting any activity.”
Predator control checklist:
Coordinate and apply wild dog management at landscape scale
- Coordinate a planned, community management program involving all stakeholders in the district
- Seek assistance from local authorities
- Start baiting programs prior to spring
- Integrate as many forms of control as possible for the spring baiting program
- Use trapping and spotlighting in conjunction with baiting
- Be mindful that no one technique on its own will deliver effective control
- Long term, targeted, on-farm programs can reduce annual impacts
- Be proactive, not reactive, to lessen future predator populations
- Actively search for predator presence and implement control before numbers get out of hand
Minimise risk to working dogs
- Follow best practise baiting guidelines to limit risk to working dogs
- Retrieve and destroy baits
- Tie baits with wire to known locations and/or bury them to ensure bait has been eaten or collected prior to mustering
- Muzzle dogs
- Tie and bury baits to prevent them being removed by non-targets
- Leave working dogs at home when checking baits or travelling to areas where control has been undertaken
- Strategically place baits in areas of known wild dog activity for more effective control
- Manage other farm activities prior to baiting programs so wild dogs are not disturbed and forced from the area
Manage predators to reduce impacts as eradication is unlikely