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Beyond the Bale : September November 2009
September -- November 2009 BEYOND THE BALE WILD DOGS 19 THE FIGHT MENACE possible with present baits." This major project, if successful, will offer significant new opportunities for the control of dogs and foxes, particularly in areas close to human settlement. A new and efficient toxin delivery system -- the 'M-44 ejector ' -- is also undergoing research in departments of primary industries and environment in several Australian states to complement other wild dog and fox control options. M-44 ejectors are baited, spring-activated devices that propel the contents of a capsule into a predator's mouth as it pulls upwards on the bait. As the toxin is contained within a sealed capsule, the ejector can be left in the field for extended periods and cannot be relocated by foxes, overcoming issues of bait movement and risk to working dogs. Trials have been encouraging, with the M-44 ejector picking up a number of wild dogs across a range of areas with foxes and wild dog pups being particularly susceptible. Ejectors are seen as a valuable Australia's grazing industry now has a united front in its fight against predators, with the National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group (NWDMAG) replacing the former state-by-state approach with a national approach to wild dog management. Brent Finlay, chair of the advisory group and AgForce Sheep and Wool president, says recent research indicating that wild dogs are travelling up to 7000 kilometres a year highlights the need for a coordinated approach to managing all the aspects of the problem. "The impacts of wild dog attacks on cattle and sheep are direct, but what people don't necessarily see are the secondary effects of dogs -- the risk of hydatid disease to humans, the damage that wild dogs do to endangered species and the flow-on cost of wild dogs to the consumer," Mr Finlay says. "The research on dog movements highlights the importance of the national advisory group mapping a strategy to eliminate wild dog issues across all borders," Mr Finlay says. Since its inception in 2008, NWDMAG has been fundamental in providing direction to the National Wild Dog Management facilitator, Greg Mifsud, who has taken the coordinated planning approach to producers across western Queensland, north-west NSW and the North Flinders region of South Australia. A key factor in the group's role of raising the profile of the wild dog issue and taking management options to land managers right across Australia has been establishing collaboration between wild dog management groups, land managers, industry and researchers within and across states. NWDMAG has worked to secure and expand the management options available to land managers by meeting with government and APVMA. The group has also developed and managed research projects aimed at providing better on-ground control of dogs. More information: Brent Finlay, 0414 415 361; Greg Mifsud, 0448 189 909 National Wild Dog Management Advisory Group Wild dog control in Paroo Shire future addition to existing control programs where baiting and trapping are used. The availability in the past four years of the easy-to-apply aerosol bait lure FeralMoneTM is helping with management of the feral dog and fox problem. The scent, which has the unforgettable aroma of rotten eggs, was devised in the US but harnessed for use by graziers and land managers in Australia through collaboration between AWI and the ACT-based company Pestat Ltd. With AWI's financial backing, Pestat Ltd, a member of the Invasive Animals CRC, came up with the novel idea of putting the powerful synthetic canid lure into an aerosol can to minimise handling problems. FeralMoneTM is distributed by Animal Control Technologies and is available from rural merchandise outlets across Australia. More information: Dr Simon Humphries, Invasive Animals CRC, 08 8357 1222, www.invasiveanimals.com, www.wool.com/grow An integrated and strategic approach by local producers and stakeholders in Paroo Shire, Queensland, is solving a widespread and increasing wild dog problem in the area. Three years ago, producers were losing production by taking an uncoordinated approach to wild dog control. There was a need to move from almost denial by authorities to awareness and action. An integrated and strategic approach by local and state governments, South West Natural Resources Management (SWNRM), producer stakeholders, private contractors and researchers was introduced. Every entity provides their expertise, facilities, funding and time to work towards the common goal of controlling wild dogs. An agreed strategic plan was tailored to local conditions. The Paroo Shire Council provided funding for baits and aerial distribution, meeting facilities, minute- taking and budgeting. The Queensland Government provided accredited 1080 personnel to bait the meat. The SWNRM provided funding for field days. An experienced dogger for trapping and monitoring was employed. A key ingredient was cooperation from landholders. The results have been impressive. Stock losses have been reduced from 10 per cent to three per cent, and there have been flow-on effects from less-stressed sheep grazing paddocks more evenly. They are also in better condition, grow more wool and are easier to handle. The program has helped ensure that sheep production will continue providing employment; local communities have been strengthened. Wild dog control in Paroo Shire is one of the innovations featured in Bestprac's Australian Pastoral Property Innovation Manual -- see page 17.
June August 2009