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Photo: JOHN SMITH/NWDAP Library
Wild dogs, including free-living domestic dogs, dingoes and cross-breeds, pose significant livestock biosecurity and welfare risks.
Not only do they inflict an estimated $89 million in damage to cattle, sheep and goat production nationwide, but they also spread animal-borne and zoonotic (able to infect people) diseases such as hydatids, Giardia and, in rare cases, leptospirosis.
Wild dogs also carry notable livestock diseases including neospora, a protozoan parasite transmitted between dogs and cattle. Neospora is estimated to cost the Australian dairy and beef industries in excess of $110 million annually and may be responsible for more than 30% of all abortions in cattle.
To help tackle this issue, the National Wild Dog Action Plan*, instigated in 2014 and now in Stage 3, underpins every state and territory’s wild dog management plan to ensure best practice strategies and control measures are used to minimise these risks.
During Stage 2, the Plan invested heavily in a suite of resources and tools now available on the PestSmart website. These resources include best practice manuals, fact sheets and informative YouTube clips, all helping farmers to keep up-to-date with best practice wild dog control techniques and strategies to achieve the end goal of improved on-farm biosecurity and animal welfare outcomes.
To protect the health of your livestock, crops and plantations it is important to minimise the risks associated with feral animals by adopting the following biosecurity practices:
Wild dogs are highly mobile and like other pests, don’t acknowledge state borders or property boundaries. The most important thing you can do to limit their impact is to work with neighbours, community and other producers in your local area to implement a coordinated approach to feral animal control.
Start by joining or forming a local pest management group to develop a management plan for the whole affected region. This could be done through existing structures like the local council, Landcare or an invasive species control group. Then consider which existing and new strategies may be effective in your area. These include:
Successful wild dog management relies on strong collaboration between industry, government, land managers and research agencies including:
While contractually separate, these agencies work together to enhance management strategies and activities Australia wide, supported by the role of National Wild Dog Management Coordinator, funded by AWI, MLA and AHA (on behalf of CCA, SPA and WPA).
All three of the plan’s stages have been contracted and managed by Invasive Animals Limited and AWI, on behalf of the plan’s Implementation Steering Committee (ISC) and other oversight committees.