Wild dog monitoring
Wild dog control is important in the western region as a means to alleviate the pressure that wild dogs place on primary producers through predation.
Landholders (in conjunction with other stakeholders) currently employ a wide variety of control techniques, including ground and aerial baiting, trapping and opportunistic shooting.
The effectiveness of these techniques has been researched extensively in NSW, but mostly in the east of the state. This leaves a large gap in our understanding on how wild dogs can be effectively managed in the western regions, as the environment, and landscape are so vastly different.
The goal of wild dog monitoring for Western Tracks is to see if the lessons learnt about wild dog control in the east apply to the west, and if not, how we can tweak them to produce better outcomes in the western regions.
In this project, wild dogs are trapped and fitted with GPS collars and then released. The movements of the collared animals are monitored before, during and after control activities within the region. Data gathered through this process provides information on:
- the movements of wild dogs in the landscape
- how wild dogs use the landscape at different times of the year and during control
- how control of wild dogs can be better targeted
- the effectiveness of routine control programs e.g. how many dogs are baited.
Additionally, camera traps are monitoring the wild dog population. This also allows researchers to assess population trends, what other species are present in the landscape e.g. foxes, feral pigs, feral cats and native wildlife, and how they all respond to pests and pest control programs.
Presently, there are two arrays of 30 camera traps deployed (in the Unincorporated Far West and Bourke Shire areas) with plans to install a further 60 cameras in the Central Darling Shire for monitoring wild dogs. There has also been seven wild dogs collared to date, with plans to resume collaring work in 2022.