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Beyond the Bale : September November 2009
18 September -- November 2009 BEYOND THE BALE WILD DOGS Many wool-growing areas of Australia face serious and costly problems with wild dogs, which can ravage a property's flock. In fact, losses caused by wild dog attacks are estimated, conservatively, to be costing the Australian wool industry about $24.2 million a year. Now the wool industry is biting back with initiatives that include research into a new toxin for wild dogs and the MAN BITES BACK -- AGAINST A PASTORAL establishment of the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group. Wild dogs are currently managed mostly by poisoning with 1080. However, there are continuing industry and community concerns about the use of 1080, particularly because the compound can kill domestic or working dogs. AWI has made strong representations on behalf of Australian woolgrowers that the toxin should not be banned without a viable replacement being available for all existing 1080 uses. The wool industry in Australia depends on the availability of an effective broad-area control method for wild dogs. The continued use of 1080 has been supported by the results of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) review into the way 1080 is used within Australia. However, it is clear that more techniques and tools are required to overcome the wild dog predation. Several initiatives are under way by the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) and collaborators, with support from AWI. One such project aims to deliver a new toxin option for controlling wild dogs and foxes, with improved target specificity and faster, more humane action. One agent, para-aminopropiophenone (PAPP), has shown considerable promise in pen and field trials for foxes, and is currently being assessed for efficacy with wild dogs. The correct formulation to induce lethal effects in the most rapid manner is being calibrated. NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Guy Ballard says PAPP is fast- acting, with no visible signs of distress as animals are rapidly rendered unconscious. "When wild dogs and foxes consume PAPP they go to sleep and don't wake up," Dr Ballard says. "Another important aspect of this particular toxicant is that an antidote could be made available to land managers for cases where baits are accidentally taken by working dogs -- something that is not (Photo left) Dog trapping to enable a navigation collar to be fixed for behavioural tracking. KEY POINTS l Several initiatives are under way by the Invasive Animals CRC and collaborators, with support from AWI, to overcome wild dog predation. l The National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group provides a national approach to wild dog management. l A new toxin with improved target specificity and faster, more humane action than 1080 is in development.
June August 2009