HOW TO USE THIS ONLINE MAGAZINE
by clicking the arrows at the side of the page.
by clicking anywhere on the page. A slider will appear, allowing you to adjust your zoom level.
and move the page around when zoomed in by dragging the page.
and return to the original size by clicking on the page again.
by entering text in the search field and click on "In This Issue" or "All Issues" to search the current issue or the archive of back issues
a PDF of this magazine.
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
a page via email, Facebook, Twitter and more.
TO VIEW PREVIOUS EDITIONS
, click the
button at the bottom of the screen.
Beyond the Bale : March 2015
ON FARM 35 One of the issues when implementing effective wild dog control across an area can be that landholders who do not run sheep generally do not participate. However in the high plains of Victoria, 100km north of Sale, the Dargo community wild dog control group has been carrying out extensive baiting and trapping on members’ properties even though less than half the members are directly impacted by wild dogs. Participation in the wild dog control group increased following the appointment of a Community Baiting Coordinator, Brian Dowley whose position is funded by AWI. Brian informed the group of the availability of funding and support to encourage community wild dog control and highlighted that the funding was not restricted to sheep producers. “We saw the AWI program as an opportunity to do something that could benefit the whole community so we decided to give it a go,” explains the group’s president, Paul Borondy. “We decided early on that our approach would be to bait and trap on private property with the objective of ‘filling in the gaps’ that the Wild Dog Controllers and other professionals couldn’t get to.” The group has 80 members, the majority of whom have lifestyle properties. About a dozen members run grazing enterprises but overall sheep numbers in the area have declined markedly over the past ten years, mostly due to wild dog predation. The nature of the landscape – steep gullies, dense eucalypt forest, and access to the Dargo River – as well as proximity to state forest – provides ideal habitat for wild dogs. “Along with Brian, we had several meetings with wild dog controllers and other professionals who were able to identify some key spots in the valley where the dogs run,” says Paul. “We took their advice to determine the most effective places, times and frequency for our trapping and baiting.” A barrier to carrying out their own wild dog control program was that only a few members were accredited to buy and handle 1080 products. Fortunately, the Landcare Network could see the value in their planned program and provided funding to enable thirty members to acquire their 1080 accreditation. Even so, the large number of baits required and the difficult nature of the terrain meant the group still did not have enough manpower to carry out extensive program. The group applied to AWI to engage contractors. AWI agreed, and Paul believes they have set a precedent for other community groups to be able to engage contractors to carry out more control activities, including trapping. The funding allowed the group to purchase 40 traps. The group then arranged for a training session with a wild dog coordinator to learn the basics of trapping. Ten members and a contractor participated in the session which considered choosing and preparing traps, finding the best site, using lures and the legislative requirements surrounding trapping. The group has developed a good relationship with Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), and meets regularly with DELWP staff to coordinate baiting and nil tenure programs. This cooperative approach ensures that the group’s program complements control works carried out by DELWP on surrounding public land. The group holds four general meetings a year and frequent executive meetings over the phone to discuss their program. While Paul and his wife Trish take care of the administration and record keeping, Brian contacts landowners, arranges for the purchase and delivery of baits and takes care of baiting notice requirements. Since December 2012, there have been 13 bait deliveries comprising a total of 3595 baits. These baits have been laid over 4481 ha. Contractors engaged by the group have also trapped wild dogs in the area. Paul believes that the work carried out by the group and DELWP is having a definite impact on wild dog numbers. “Farmers aren’t reporting as many wild dog attacks and there have been fewer reports of dogs being heard,” he says. “We also have Webcam footage taken from certain spots in the bush twelve months ago, which clearly shows wild dogs but no native animals. “Recent footage taken at the same locations shows the reverse: no dogs, but a lot of native animals including wallabies, bandicoots, lyrebirds and wombats. Once you remove the predators it doesn’t seem to take very long for the native animals to return.” Importantly, all group members but one said that their emotional wellbeing has improved as a result of participating in wild dog control. A photo that was taken 12 months ago by one of the cameras that the group set up. Trap setting demonstration at Dargo by wild dog controller Terry Higgins. DOG CONTROL Members of the Dargo community wild dog control group with the group’s president Paul Borondy (centre) and Community Baiting Coordinator Brian Dowley (far right). AT DARGO