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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
38 ON FARM Queensland's twice-yearly regionally coordinated aerial baiting campaigns -- along with ground baiting, trapping by professional trappers and landholders, and shooting -- continue to cover a considerable area of the state during key periods of wild dog activity. As in the previous two years, AWI's Queensland wild dog coordinator Brett Carlsson facilitated the drafting of the baiting calendar for the April-May campaign, and assisted with its implementation by engaging the councils of 15 shires to bait in a coordinated sequence. When Brett was appointed wild dog coordinator in 2012, one of the primary things he did was to facilitate a workshop with local governments, producers and their wild dog committees to discuss and create a coordinated twice yearly aerial baiting program. While there had been aerial baiting programs prior to then, the significant difference of the new program was that it was a coordinated campaign with agreement from the shires on the sequence that the baiting takes place. "The situation they were in was that the current booking arrangement for aerial baiting sometimes resulted in large time gaps in baiting programs between neighbouring shires, and this in turn led to dogs moving between unbaited and baited areas very soon after each program," Mr Carlsson said. "The programs are now more successful in logistically ensuring that the shire areas are being baited in a coordinated sequence that aligns with neighbouring shires and reduces the time gaps between programs." The combination of utilising aerial and ground baiting throughout the campaign time frame enables a considerable area of Queensland to be baited, with the shires involved covering approximately 69.5 million hectares which is about 40 per cent of the entire state of Queensland. As a result of the improved coordination, many producers have noticed a decrease in the incidence of dogs reinfesting unbaited areas across shire boundaries, which was the previous problem prior to the implementation of the coordinated calendar. Since 2014, the campaign now utilises three aircraft to carry out the aerial baiting whereas previously there was only the one operator. Brett was instrumental in the engagement of the additional aerial providers ensuring the baiting program was carried out at the most suitable time to increase effectiveness. This has also reduced the time to complete the entire program from approximately three months down to six weeks. "Despite the effects of the drought, the motivation of producers to proactively control wild dogs is still high," Mr Carlsson said. "The sharing of knowledge, information and the coordination between groups is very encouraging. The chairs from the committees are now talking together regularly outside of meeting times, and sometimes sharing resources which demonstrates that there is a strong shared interest and motivation to improve the control programs where we can." The baiting campaign engaged 15 local governments/wild dog committees Flinders, Richmond, McKinlay, Winton, Barcaldine, Longreach, Blackall/Tambo, Barcoo, Diamantina, Quilpie, Bulloo, Murweh, Paroo, Maranoa and Balonne, of which six are outside of the Brett's project area. Planning is under way for the October- November 2015 campaign. Brett also assists in other wild dog control initiatives such as planning and presenting AWI-funded wild dog trapping workshops in partnership with AgForce staff and supported by Biosecurity Queensland, as well as professional trappers. The presentations include a strong message of coordination at a local and regional level as well as the importance of landholder-led wild dog management groups and the role they play in wild dog control. MORE INFORMATION Brett Carlsson, 0428 730 553, email@example.com A coordinated aerial baiting program in Queensland, along with ground baiting, enables the baiting of about forty per cent of the state. The twice-yearly aerial baiting program, organised with help from AWI's Queensland wild dog coordinator, is run in sequence across shires using three aircraft to help ensure that there is a maximum impact. The aim of the initiative is to help control wild dogs that are causing significant livestock losses in the region. BAITING IN QUEENSLAND COORDINATED AERIAL Coordination and cooperation are crucial to effective wild dog control. Pictured here is the Flinders Shire Wild Dog Management Committee planning and prioritising control efforts at a workshop facilitated by AWI's Queensland wild dog coordinator Brett Carlsson (second left).