Authorities target wild dogs

FOLLOWING a series of community meetings to discuss management plans for wild dogs, the North Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) has initiated new programs aimed at reducing local wild dog populations.

Senior ranger with the North Coast LHPA, Dean Chamberlain, says the authority held 11 community meetings in the area to the north and east of the Clarence River to discuss wild dog management.

"The meetings were held in local country centres and attended by staff from the LHPA, National Parks and Wildlife Service, Forests NSW and landholders so that all land tenures were covered," he said.

"The attendance at meetings ranged from good to poor which could possibly be an indicator of how wild dogs are viewed in some areas as compared to others and what impacts had been occurring in the months leading up to the meetings.

"At the meetings the stakeholders agreed to initiate new group programs where required and expand current programs meaning that over forty major coordinated control programs will be carried out over the autumn and early spring period.

"The first program kicked off in late April in the Woodenbong area with three Forests NSW and six private properties covering an area of 6,110 hectares which will provide control over about 20,000 hectares in the area. A program was also carried out in the Lowanna/Ulong area, west of Coffs Harbour, with 18 properties covering an area of 2,434 hectares, which will provide control over about 10,000 hectares in the valley."

Mr Chamberlain said a key feature of these programs is the cooperation between all parties - landholders, LHPA, Forests NSW and National Parks and Wildlife Service.

"As a general rule, the most effective form of control is coordinated 1080 baiting programs conducted from autumn through to spring," he said.

"As wild dog behaviour varies it may be necessary to formulate a unique control program that suits a particular area. For instance, in some cases one baiting program may resolve the problem but in others it may be necessary to carry out an ongoing program where fresh baits are laid weekly, biweekly or monthly to provide effective control.

"Unfortunately all wild dogs may not be controlled during the initial baiting program or new wild dogs may move into the area where control has been effective from surrounding areas and in these instances further programs are needed.

"The dogs may also be naturally bait-shy and in these cases the North Coast LHPA can help landholders with the use of game cameras and soft jaw trapping. As soft jaw trapping can be a time consuming exercise landholders will need to assist with the monitoring of traps."

If landholders are experiencing a wild dog problem they should first contact their local LHPA office or ranger and they should also contact their neighbours to determine who else is being affected.

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