Wild dog baiting evidence mounts for changes

Wild dog baiting evidence mounts for changes

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TRACKED: In one of the largest, long-term projects of its kind 132 wild dogs were trapped, fitted with GPS collars and tracked to generate the scientific evidence which supports an optimum rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre.

TRACKED: In one of the largest, long-term projects of its kind 132 wild dogs were trapped, fitted with GPS collars and tracked to generate the scientific evidence which supports an optimum rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre.

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Mounting evidence that changes to wild dog baiting regulations in some areas of eastern Australia would be good for the environment and property owners.

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Newly published research results have shown the optimum 1080 aerial delivery rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre will successfully eliminate more than 90 per cent of wild dogs, to reduce their impact on agriculture, native wildlife, the environment and community.

The findings are another tick in the box for advocates of increased aerial baiting rates in Victoria.

Victorian Farmers Federation wild dog spokesman, Peter Star, said the whole of the three-kilometre buffer zone should be made open to be baited.

He said he was not advocating that the whole of those areas should be baited, but the known problem areas should be able to be baited.

In the north-east after the bushfires there were outbreaks in areas away from the fire zone, where the dogs had moved out.

Mr Star said that it would have been good to have had an emergency plan in place for those areas to use the maximum 40 baits a kilometre to get good coverage.

NSW Department of Primary Industries principal research scientist, Peter Fleming, said the research was conducted at the request of the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority, who needed scientific data to support the APVMA bait rate.

"In 2008 the APVMA reduced the aerial 1080 baiting rate to manage wild dogs in regional NSW from 40 baits to 10 baits per kilometre, following a national review," Dr Fleming said.

"Now, after conducting one of the largest, long-term projects of its kind we have the scientific evidence to support a rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre.

"From 2007 to 2013, 132 wild dogs were trapped and fitted with GPS collars, and tracked before and after baiting in north-eastern NSW.

"The study compared the two bait rates by quantifying the mortality rate of wild dogs in aerial baiting areas.

"Success was measured by the number of GPS-collared dogs which did not survive the baiting.

"The results were very clear, 90.6 per cent the wild dogs exposed to aerial baiting at 40 baits per kilometre died, just 55.3 per cent died at the 10 baits per kilometre rate and collared wild dogs, which remained outside the baiting zones survived.

"We are confident in recommending aerial baiting at a rate of 40 baits per linear kilometre to effectively minimise wild dog numbers in areas where they impact on the environment and community along the Great Dividing Range."

NSW DPI advises managers used follow-up control measures, including trapping and shooting, to keep wild dog numbers at acceptable levels.

Previous research has shown wild dog management programs need to reduce wild dog populations by at least 75 per cent to successfully manage the negative impacts of wild dogs.

The use of 1080 in controlling feral animals continues to play an important role in the protection of Australian native animal species.

National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, Greg Mifsud, said decisions about baiting needed to be made using science-based, evidence-based research.

All the research and science showed that baiting at 40 baits per linear kilometre had no detrimental effect on Quoll populations.

"Quoll populations are robust and extremely healthy in the areas where the baiting trials were conducted," he said.

"We have the evidence that Quolls are 100 per cent more likely to occur in areas that have had long-term aerial and ground control of wild dogs in eastern Australia," Mr Mifsud said.

Aerial baiting has a key role in any recovery of the Quoll population in eastern Victoria.

It would improve the outcomes for livestock producers where it was used in inaccessible and inhospitable terrain, he said.

It should be used as part of an integrated program where there is limited access to provide on-ground control and the Buchan area was a "perfect example" of that.

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