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Beyond the Bale : December 2013
26 26 26 ON-FARM December 2013 BEYOND THE BALE AWI is providing $538,190 in funding across three years to NSW Farmers to help rural communities across western NSW work together to reduce wild dog attacks. A new wild dog coordinator, Bruce Duncan, will work with woolgrowers, livestock producers and other key stakeholders to help them achieve long term on-the-ground control of wild dogs. COORDINATION IS VITAL Head of On-farm R&D at AWI Jane Littlejohn said collaboration between local landholders is vital but can be challenging without external help. “ Previous work by AWI in the Western Division shows that woolgrowers recognise the vital need for wild dog control, but they often don’t have the relationships with all land managers across such vast distances as in the Western Division that are needed Wild dog coordinator appointed for western NSW FAST FACTS l AWI is providing $538,190 in new funding to help reduce dog predation in the Western Division of NSW. l A wild dog coordinator has recently been appointed to work with stakeholders to help strengthen rural communities’ efforts to achieve sustained on-the-ground control of wild dogs. l The appointment complements AWI funding for wild dog coordinators currently in Victoria and Queensland. to be able to work together on the dog problem,” she said. “ Nor do they necessarily have all the skills or resources to combat dogs, and those people that are actively involved in dog control can often feel burnout due to the scale of the problem and low participation within the region. “ That is why communities need a coordinator to step in and help out. They need somebody independent, who can break down these barriers and get landholders working locally and across shires. “ Furthermore, coordination is particularly important when dealing with wild dog issues in western NSW where distances to travel are greater and there are a larger number of absentee landowners.” Wild dog 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 dogs to individual land managers. This approach can reinstill 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. Through this truly consultative process local farmers can not only share in the “ownership” of the decision making but can identify and pursue the resources required to successfully implement a local and regional solution. THE NEW ROLE Dr Littlejohn acknowledged the role would be challenging but said Mr Duncan would be supported by an expert advisory committee and NSW Farmers’ staff. He will also have access to networks of government agencies that are active in wild dog control such as the Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. Mr Duncan already has good relationships across the Western Division and understands the issues communities have in dealing with wild dog attacks. “ I look forward to working with landholders and stakeholders to develop the networks and structures to help reduce the devastating effects of wild dog attacks on livestock,” he said. “ I have lived and worked on a rural property all my life. My family sheep and cattle property borders a traveling stock route and so I am very familiar with introduced and invasive species and their control.” AWI funding for the appointment of a wild dog coordinator in the Western Division of NSW complements AWI past and current funding for wild dog coordinators in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia. FUNDING AVAILABLE Funding is also available, as part of AWI’s new ’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. Mr Duncan can assist groups to form and apply for these funds. To apply, groups should download and complete the application form at www.wool.com/pestanimals and submit it with a project budget and map to email@example.com. Both new and existing control groups are encouraged to apply for the new funding. More information: Bruce Duncan is based at the LHPA offices in Dubbo and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org or 0409 515 471. www.wool.com/pestanimals Bruce Duncan has been appointed as the new wild dog coordinator in the Western Division of NSW. PHOTO: Copyright Dubbo Photo News.