More community-minded efforts to reduce wild dogs are being seen throughout Victoria, with 102 community wild dog participants across 72,000 hectares of private land as a part of 16 community wild dog control groups.
Community wild dog controllers are also co-funded by Australian Wool Innovation through their vertebrate pest program but work under the Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP) Victoria banner.
DELWP project officer Mick Freeman, who looks after the Gippsland region, is one of those community wild dog control coordinators.
Mr Freeman said community programs had been essential in reducing wild dogs on properties.
"The biggest thing that makes a difference on the ground is to deliver the programs with community groups in a given area, and we'll work with individuals as a group, and we'll organise their bait deliveries," Mr Freeman said.
"We talk to them about their requirements, ensure everything's in place so they can carry on their programs in a coordinated approach to ensure best results."
He said his role was "to keep the wheels turning and to keep those groups ticking along" by organising field days for communities to ensure access to best practice information.
It was the most popular way for landholders to get information in a short space of time.
"It's about a personal approach where we are not only organising those field days, but chasing funding where available for fencing," he said.
"We continue to have good links with fencing industries too and collaborate with companies on bringing field days to the community."
He said communities working together proactively had seen results, despite the challenges over the past two years.
"COVID made things harder, with less face-to-face meetings, but we encourage incorporating dog control programs into your annual farm plan, and we continually work on community group plans on wild dog management," he said.
"Largely for them, those plans have meant people know what to do, but the management plans we work on is partly an engagement tool to keep the community working together, and partly to show any new landholders in the area of what the other local landholders are committed to."
Mr Freeman said community groups were also utilising non-lethal methods of wild dog management, including exclusion fencing.
The most recent DELWP Wild Dog Management Progress Report showed there was just over 300 farm-related incident reports related to wild dogs in Victoria over the past nine months.
It showed 5553 baits were supplied to community wild dog groups between July 2021 and February 2022.
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