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Beyond the Bale : March 2019
36 ON FARM AWI-FUNDED WILD DOG COORDINATOR IN SOUTH AUSTRALIA AWI recently began co-funding a wild dog coordinator position in South Australia, to help landholders and communities in the state work together to combat wild dog attacks. The wild dog coordinator position aims to help producers and other key stakeholders collaborate to reduce the impact of devastating livestock predation by wild dogs in the state – and therefore improve on-farm productivity, rural community wellbeing and rural biodiversity. The position also aims to help coordinate on-ground wild dog control activities. This is vital but can be challenging for landholders without the external help provided by an independent coordinator. Marty Bower is the wild dog coordinator. He commenced in the role in March 2017, and is based with AWI project partner, the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA. AWI’s funding for the role began in December 2018. The South Australia wild dog coordinator position complements the AWI-funded wild dog coordinators currently operating in all other mainland states (see box right). 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. Marty is a South Australian local, having grown up in the Adelaide Hills and Barossa. After completing studies in natural resource management, he gained work experience in Tasmania, NSW and the Northern Territory, before returning to his native South Australia to take up the wild dog coordinator position. “The role aims to increase participation in wild dog control among land managers – be they pastoralists, Aboriginal groups, conservation groups or mining companies – and other stakeholders,” Marty said. “I am also there to implement wild dog control programs, provide effective regional planning across wild dog affected areas, and provide improved awareness, surveillance, reporting and monitoring of wild dog activity. “An example of the type of thing I do is overseeing the on-ground implementation of the four-year SA Dog Trapper program including supervision of the trappers. The program, funded by the State government, Natural Resource Management Boards, the Sheep Industry Fund and AWI, is designed to provide land managers with professional wild dog trapping services to help them reduce wild dog impacts on their properties, south of the Dog Fence.” The program has so far controlled 135 dogs across 32 properties since commencing in July 2018. The trappers have additionally undertaken 210 hours of ‘on the job’ training with land managers and their staff, to increase their capacity to control dogs on their properties. Marty said the true measure of success of the program was not just in the number of animals controlled, but in the reduction of impacts from wild dogs experienced by producers. “The reports coming through from land managers are showing a marked reduction in the localised impacts of wild dogs,” he said. “To have these results within the first five months of a four-year program is very encouraging. “The training the trappers are providing to land managers and their staff in particular is really adding value to the program. A trapper isn’t always going to be able to drop everything to head straight to a property to deal with a dog causing problems, so upskilling land managers to take action themselves when the need arises is a great outcome. Whenever land managers in these impacted areas get together, the first things they ask each other are ‘have you had any South Australia state wild dog coordinator Marty Bower. rain’ and ‘have you had any dogs’. One of these issues is beyond our control, but the other is something we can all work together to manage.” Marty says two emerging wild dog impacted areas have recently been identified. “Land managers in the Moonabie/Munyaroo area (Eyre Peninsula) are interested in forming a wild dog management group following increased stock attacks over the past couple of years. The local NRM Officer and I recently held a workshop at Moonabie Station attended by 12 land managers. “The other emerging area is in the Mid North around Burra. The local NRM group has commissioned the development of a management plan, with a workshop planned for early 2019. I’ll support the consultation and drafting of the plan.” AUSTRALIA-WIDE AWI-FUNDED WILD DOG COORDINATORS AWI funds and co-funds wild dog coordinators in each Australian mainland state to help landholders and communities work together – locally and across shires – to combat wild dog attacks. • South Australia: Marty Bower 0419 835 120 • Queensland (south-west): Skyela Kruger 0429 232 089 • Queensland (central-west): Kristy Waddell 0437 116 875 • NSW (north-east): Dave Worsley 0429 638 078 • NSW (western): Bruce Duncan 0409 515 471 • Victoria (Gippsland): Brian Dowley 0408 436 600 and Lucy-anne Cobby 0488 712 616 (shared position) • Victoria (north-east): Michael Freeman 0477 358 061 • Western Australia: Meja Aldrich 0417 622 780
In the Shops - March 2019