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Beyond the Bale : March 2015
34 ON FARM The AWI-funded Victorian Wild Dog Community Baiting Coordinator project, which began in 2012, is successfully assisting communities and individual producers to undertake coordinated wild dog baiting programs on private land across Gippsland and north eastern Victoria. Traditionally, Victorian producers were heavily reliant on trapping and shooting as the major control tools for the management of wild dogs on their properties. The addition of baiting to their control options, implemented through on-going coordinated widespread baiting programs, has further complemented the integrated, nil tenure approach adopted by the Victorian wild dog program. AWI initially funded the project with the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) for the three years 2012-14, however has extended the project due to its success. The project began with three community wild dog control groups in Gippsland and now has 17 groups throughout both Gippsland and north eastern Victoria. The communities within this project have benefited from an organised program of locally delivered 1080 training and accreditation, bait supply, on-going technical support and coordination of all land managers to achieve effective nil tenure wild dog management. COMMUNITY BAITING SUCCESS IN VICTORIA • The AWI-funded Victorian Wild Dog Community Baiting Coordinator project has provided a significant reduction in wild dog predation on sheep flocks and enabled local communities to be more actively engaged and informed. • There are now 17 community wild dog control groups in Gippsland and north eastern Victoria that have distributed more than 60,000 baits over 120,000ha of land, and in some instances have arranged for other control activities to be carried out as well. • AWI is continuing to fund two Victorian Wild Dog Coordinators positions who engage with the community and encourage communication between all land managers. WHAT HAS BEEN ACHIEVED? REDUCED WILD DOG ATTACKS Many producers have reported that there have been fewer wild dog attacks and stock losses, and greater wildlife activity, in areas where community wild dog control groups have carried out control works. REDUCED STRESS TO PRODUCERS 87% of farmers in Gippsland and 90% in north eastern Victoria reported that participation in this project has improved their wellbeing. Around 60% of participants have indicated an intention to reintroduce sheep, or increase sheep numbers, as a result. AN INTEGRATED, NIL TENURE APPROACH The project has encouraged producers to consider a multi-faceted approach to wild dog control involving all landholders and a variety of control methods, including baiting. GREATER COMMUNITY CONFIDENCE The project has empowered producers by giving them tools to control dogs and link in with the regional approach to wild dog control. INCREASED CAPACITY FOR PRODUCERS TO CARRY OUT 1080 BAITING AND TRAPPING In the first three years of the project, 119 producers gained Victorian Agricultural Chemical User Permit accreditation and 147 producers completed training to gain 1080 endorsement. 95 participants also received training in trap usage. COOPERATIVE BAITING ON PRIVATE LAND COORDINATED WITH BAITING ON PUBLIC LAND 147 landholders from 17 community baiting groups participated in community baiting programs covering more than 120,000 ha. During the first three years of the project, participants laid 60,000 baits in areas where previously, there had been little or no community baiting on private land. Two community groups have now extended their baiting programs onto public land. ENHANCED UPTAKE BY COMMUNITY GROUPS OF AWI FUNDING. The project alerted the community to the existence of AWI funding and assisted groups to obtain grants. MORE INFORMATION www.wool.com/wilddogs According to woolgrower Trevor Howden of Glenaladale in south east Victoria, wild dog activity was reduced after the implementation of a community baiting program: “It has taken a lot of stress off me, knowing I’m doing something proactive rather than waiting for the next attack.”