Quilpie baits 5m acres

07 Dec, 2012 03:00 AM

ADAVALE landholders have baited about five million acres of the Quilpie Shire for wild dogs and feral pigs this week as part of a co-ordinated baiting and trapping program in their Shire.

Working under the direction of the newly employed Quilpie Shire Council Wild Dog Control officer, Damien McNair, around 90pc of landholders in the Adavale syndicate participated in this week's baiting program.

Quilpie Shire Councillor Stewart Sargent lives on Granville, 40km south of Adavale, and said 35 properties participated in the baiting program, representing about 90pc of the landholders.

"We just have a little pocket that won't do anything to help and they just keep feeding the dogs down to us," he said.

"They don't want to help and we need some stronger legislation to encourage them to take part.

"They come up with every excuse under the sun not to be involved but at the end of the day we need everyone to tackle this together."

In addition to biannual baiting programs, the Adavale syndicate also carried out a trapping program earlier this year with the assistance of trapper, Don Selway. Working across 14 properties, Mr Selway caught 179 dogs in an 11-week period from March to May.

The exercise left landholders with a $97,000 bill, of which the Quilpie Shire paid $28,000.

Mr Sargent said with that many dogs now out of the region and more landholders coming on board to bait, progress has been made this year.

"This time last year there were just dogs everywhere but I think we might just be making some headway now," he said.

"It's great that the Quilpie Shire have employed someone to trap and coordinate the baiting full time and hopefully he'll have some luck getting more people on board."

Mr McNair started as the Quilpie Shire wild dog control officer three weeks ago and spent first few days laying traps on Cowley Station, 80km south east of Quilpie. The 160,000ha property runs 16,000 Merino sheep and 1000 head of cattle and has been under the direction of manager, Ian Feather since 2001.

Mr Feather said wild dogs and feral pigs had only become a major issue since the drought broke three years ago.

"As soon as the lizards and rabbits came back the dogs picked up with them," he said.

"They also redid the pipeline that comes through our property around then and that just spread the dogs out for hundreds of kilometres."

Mr Feather said the loss of production due to dogs and pigs had been devastating.

"In 2011 we got a lamb marking rate of 43pc but this year we only got 20pc," he said.

"We were also 1600 ewes short at shearing two weeks ago so we are really hoping they turn up somewhere."

"A lot of people around us have gone out of sheep -Baiting we just can't sustain those losses."

Mr Feather has thrown out more than 6 tonnes of baited meat as part of the local baiting program over the past eight years.

"Baiting gets a lot of the pups but it won't get all the older dogs and we all need to use a range of tools to combat the problem."

Mr McNair said creating awareness of the issue will be a large part of his role with the Quilpie Shire.

"We just need to get everyone talking about dogs so they have their eyes on the ground looking for tracks at all times," he said.

"It's about getting that vigilance back again."

"A lot of blokes are having a go at trapping themselves now - it fell by the wayside for a few years but it's great to see people using those skills again."



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