Collaboration leads to dramatic drop in dog attacks

Livestock producers in the eastern Murray region report a 78 per cent drop in stock killed by wild dogs since 2017 due to a collaboration between landholders, public land managers and Murray Local Land Services.

Figures compiled by Murray Local Land Services show a decrease in the number of stock that are confirmed to have been killed by wild dogs from 270 in 2017 to 60 in 2019.

So far in 2020 there have been just 18 confirmed stock deaths.

Manager of Biosecurity and Emergency Services, Geoff Corboy, said the decline is due to the cooperative efforts of producers, National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS), Forestry Corporation NSW, DPIE Crown Lands and Murray Local Land Services in implementing a raft of control measures in the area.

“We’ve got three wild dog action groups operating in the Murray region comprising landholders and the public land managers who work together to discuss and implement strategies to reduce wild dog numbers,” he said.

“The aerial baiting program, which has proven an efficient method of targeting wild dogs over a wide area, has been a successful initiative implemented over the past four years.

“We’ve also got professional dog trappers working on a year-round basis, and over the past few years there has been over 300 km of electric fencing erected on property boundaries to stop the dogs from entering landholders’ property.

“To see this drop in attacks on stock and the number of animals mauled or killed is a great credit to all the land managers involved.”

The figures also show the total number of stock attacks (many involving multiple animals) fell from 129 in 2017 to 61 in 2019, a drop of 53 per cent, with just six reported so far this year. The confirmed number of stock mauled fell 59 per cent from 158 to 65 over the same period, with 15 reported this year to date.

Chairman of the Upper Murray Wild Dog Group, Graeme Tyrell, said the combination of approaches and cooperation between landholders and agencies had had a big effect on the wild dog population.

“The aerial baiting – you can see it’s starting to work,” he said. “They’re learning where to put it, extending different lines, putting the baits where the dogs are, and it’s making a real difference.”

“The electric fencing has been a big plus, too - a real deterrent. You put all these tools together, the baiting, the fencing, trappers, and we’re definitely seeing a reduction in dog numbers.”

NPWS Director Mick Pettitt said work would continue to build on the reductions already achieved.

“The wild dog groups are concentrating their work to remove wild dogs from isolated pockets of activity to continue the significant decreases in dog sightings and stock attacks,” he said. “NPWS will continue to work cooperatively with all stakeholders to maintain the good results achieved since 2015.

“An additional NPWS-funded aerial baiting program is planned for September 2020 as a post-fire recovery measure to control wild dogs and foxes as native wildlife recovers from the recent destructive bushfires.”

Year

Reports

Stock Attacks

Stock Killed

Stock Mauled

2017

273

129

270

168

2018

234

99

139

102

2019

155

61

60

65

2020

66

6

18

15

ENDS

Media contact: Matt Lane, Communications, 0427 459 755, matt.g.lane@lls.nsw.gov.au

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