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Beyond the Bale : March 2018
The wild dog facilitator position was set up three years ago in the north-east of NSW to assist woolgrowers and other key stakeholders to work together to lessen the impact of devastating livestock predation by wild dogs in the area. The position is helping to reduce these attacks and therefore improve on-farm productivity, rural community wellbeing and rural biodiversity. For the past three years, the position was funded by AWI and managed by the Invasive Animals CRC in partnership with AWI, NSW Department of Primary Industries, NSW Farmers, Northern Tablelands Local Land Services and local Landcare. AWI is funding and managing, directly, the wild dog facilitator for another three years. THE FACILITATOR ROLE The north-east NSW position complements the AWI-funded wild dog coordinators currently operating in western NSW, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia. Wild dog coordinators facilitate collaboration between landholders (in new or existing wild dog management groups) and with other key stakeholders, locally and across shires. They also help coordinate on-ground wild dog control activities. This is vital, but can be challenging for landholders without the external help provided by an AWI’s provision of funding during the past three years for a wild dog facilitator in the north-east of NSW is helping to reduce dog predation in the region. independent coordinator. The coordinators use a ‘nil-tenure landscape level’ approach with local communities that highlights the benefit of focusing on the ‘common problem’ rather than attributing ownership of the wild dog problem to individual land managers. This approach encourages good working relationships between private and public land managers. More importantly, it can have a positive impact on the emotional well-being of farmers in the area who now feel that something positive is being done to address the constant financial and emotional impact of wild dogs. The wild dog facilitator for north-east NSW is Dave Worsley, based at Armidale. Dave has been a livestock farmer in the Northern Tablelands for more than 20 years which, backed by a degree in Agriculture, has given him a very sound knowledge of agricultural practices and wild dog control in the region. Dave took on the new wild dog facilitator role in May 2015 and quickly started meeting with landholders and stakeholders in the region to help them improve communications and develop collaborative plans. WILD DOG CONTROL MANAGEMENT PLANS Dave says his first year in the role revolved largely around the Armidale region dealing with massive wild dog issues, mainly to the east. “At the commencement of the role, there weren’t any wild dog and fox management plans in the Northern Tablelands signed off by livestock producers and other stakeholders such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) and Local Land Services (LLS),” he said. “However, there are now 28 new signed management plans and five final drafts in the Northern Tablelands region in the process of being signed. These plans commit all parties to five years of control at a minimum level of the 2017 effort (see box on opposite page). “This is a substantial achievement, particularly given the turbulent history of wild dog management in the Northern Tablelands. It has been hard to account for and overcome entrenched historical difficulties and the need for very specific wording to satisfy all parties.” Collaboration between stakeholders – although vital – can be challenging without the external help provided by an independent facilitator, as was the case at Wongwibinda – see the article in the December 2016 edition of Beyond the Bale. “One of my first tasks was to help move forward with development of the AWI-funded wild dog facilitator for north-east NSW, Dave Worsley, based at Armidale. PHOTO: Fairfax Media WILD DOG CONTROL SUCCESSES IN NORTH-EAST NSW 42 ON FARM
In the Shops - March 2018