OUT OF CONTROL: The wild dog population has exploded across Australia.
OUT OF CONTROL: The wild dog population has exploded across Australia. Contributed

Hunger games in war against wild dogs

THE Department of Primary Industries' war on wild dogs is amping up, as it claims more than 90% of the animals can be effectively controlled with targeted pesticide aerial baiting programs.

The department says it gathered scientific evidence to support the claim in "wild dog prone" areas of north-eastern NSW.

Principal research scientist Peter Fleming said aerial drops of 40 '1080' baits per kilometre delivered close to double the level of control gained from the currently approved rate of 10 baits per kilometre, which was 55% effective.

"These results have huge and positive implications for livestock producers and wild

life managers," he said.

"Based on this new evidence, Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority have this month extended the permit to use 40 baits per kilometre for the next 12 months.

"Aerial baiting plays a significant role in the strategic and target specific management of wild dogs in eastern NSW and clearly use of the optimum bait rate boosts the effectiveness of baiting programs.

"In the long-term, adoption of the optimum bait rate will ensure that land managers continue to get value for their expenditure and efforts."

The four-year aerial baiting trial garnered the support of NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Australian Pest Animal Research Program, Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre and Australian Wool Innovation.

1080 is the colloquial title, derived from a catalogue number, of the poisonous chemical compound sodium fluoroacetate.

The department says wild dogs are responsible for an annual economic loss of more than $50 million across Australia due to impact on livestock industries, farm animals, pets, native wildlife and people, through attack and the spread of diseases and parasites.

Its website states work is underway to "finetune" wild dog management strategies, including the conservation of dingoes.

Sodium fluoroacetate was first used in Australia during rabbit control programmes in the early 1950s, according to a 2002 report by various Federal and State Government departments.



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