Wild dogs lose fear and move close to homes

WILD dogs are losing their instinctive fear of humans and moving closer to some settlements, says Local Land Services team leader Dean Chamberlain.

Mr Chamberlain said DNA testing of dogs revealed they were between 50% and 70% dingo.

"Because they're becoming less and less like a dingo, they're losing their inhibitions and moving more into areas around buildings," he said.

"They're losing a little of their fear of humans."

He said dogs were attacking livestock and domestic pets on small landholdings on the edge of town.

"We've even had wild dogs coming up onto the verandas of homes and eating the pet food left in their bowls," he said.

Mr Chamberlain said although the wild dog problem was getting worse, he had taken heart from recent State and Federal Government developments.

"A couple of months ago the National Wild Dog plan came into effect," he said.

"That will provide a lift for the bodies trying to control the problem and landholders," he said.

"It means that we will get better control measures because the problem is being looked at a higher level."

Mr Chamberlain said the wild dog problem in coastal areas needed more research.

"The new plan needs to recognise one of the new issues, the peri-urban issue of dogs willing to live in and around urban areas," he said.

"It's more difficult with smaller landholdings, because there's more people to deal with."

He said another issue was tactics developed to control wild dogs in western regions and the tablelands did not work as well on the coast.

He said coastal regions provided the dogs with few environmental challenges.

"There's plenty of food for them in the bush, plenty of water and cover," he said.

Mr Chamberlain said baiting programs remained the most effective method of controlling wild dogs.



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