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Beyond the Bale : March 2017
TRAPPING SUCCESS AT FIRST ATTEMPT After suffering large stock losses during last autumn’s lambing, woolgrower Chris Box from Carboor in northeast of Victoria began trapping for the first time, and was delighted to catch a wild dog at his very first attempt, using a trap purchased with funding from AWI. Woolgrower Chris Box setting a trap on his property. Chris Box from Carboor, 40km south-east of Wangaratta, who runs 1,200 breeding ewes, has been undertaking ground baiting successfully on his family’s property for the past ten years. However, wild dogs had a devastating effect when they attacked three of his mobs during lambing last autumn. “Normally we have lambing percentages of about 100%, but we lost about 200 lambs during the attacks, which reduced rates in those three mobs to between 30% and 60%,” Chris says. “It not only hit us financially, it was also emotionally very frustrating.” After subsequently sighting wild dogs in the area, some of which he managed to shoot, Chris decided to try trapping, using one of several traps recently purchased by his community wild dog group with funding through AWI’s Community Wild Dog Control Initiative. Nobody was more surprised than Chris when he caught a wild dog almost straight away. “I put some traps out for the first ever time, and caught a wild dog on the second night!” Chris said. “It shows how successful AWI wild dog funding is being. I certainly feel I’m getting a return in this respect on the wool levies I’ve been paying.” He also credits online videos about trapping, and demonstrations and advice given to him by Wild Dog Controller Matt Beach about how to set traps, for helping him achieve success. Chris’s farm is in a relatively isolated area with rough terrain, but along with other producers in the area he is part of the Carboor-Whorouly wild dog group that has been running for about three years. “There are about 4-5 people in the group. Ideally there would be more in it, because as people move out of sheep they tend to stop wild dog control measures, so the dogs move closer in. But thankfully the land managed by the people who are in the group covers a substantial area. Group members and other stakeholders are helping coordinate the control program effectively and I’m really happy things are going well – it’s definitely a worthwhile exercise. “The group bought the traps to address the wild dog problem from all angles, and to have their own control tools into the future. Wild dog control is all about using a combination of tools – be it baiting, trapping, shooting or fencing – you can’t just rely on one tool. We’re going to be laying some canid pest ejectors – CPEs – this year too, for the first time. “We lay baits – also supplied through AWI funding – in autumn, ideally early to get rid of the dogs before lambing time because the wild dogs will always prefer fresh meat. It’s hard to find the time to fit in a spring baiting, because so much else is happening on the farm at that time. “AWI-funded Community Wild Dog Coordinator Lucy-anne Cobby organises the bait drop off three times a year in April, May and June. She also keeps us in the loop about what other groups are doing, and we’re able to discuss opportunities for funding and other control measures with her.” Chris says that despite these successes, there are several issues that he says add to the wild dog problem. “I’d like to see more control on public land that borders grazing land, such as the introduction of aerial baiting 20-30km back from the boundary. The increasing number of Sambar deer also needs to be addressed because they are exacerbating the wild dog problem. It’s also frustrating that the so-called Alpine dingo is protected because it is not a pure-bred dingo.” “More resources are needed to address wild dogs. Thank goodness we have AWI funding, as without that we’d really be on the back foot. I would recommend other woolgrowers with wild dog problems to consider applying for AWI funding,” Chris said. AWI FUNDING AVAILABLE Funding is available under AWI’s 'Community Wild Dog Control Initiative' to individual groups to undertake wild dog control activities. Funding can be directed by groups to fill gaps they have identified in their control plans. To apply, groups should download and complete the application form at www.wool.com/wilddogs and submit it along with a plan, a map and a project budget to email@example.com. Applications are open to new groups as well as those groups that have previously received funding from AWI. If you need clarification or assistance please contact AWI Vertebrate Pest Program Manager Ian Evans on 0427 773 005 or firstname.lastname@example.org ON FARM 31
In the Shops - March 2017