The results of a landholder survey undertaken by the Hume Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) have shown that their wild dog programs are successful and contribute to farmer’s enterprises and general wellbeing.
Ray Willis, Hume LHPA General Manager, said the survey was undertaken as part of a collaborative project funded by Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) which built on the Hume LHPA’s financial commitment of employing wild dog trappers.
“Wild dog trappers work in collaboration with landholders and this partnership is key to the success of the community based wild dog management plans,” Mr Willis said.
“The AWI funding initiative aims to help local growers rebuild their sheep flocks and increase wool production following recent significant wild dog activity.
“It also endeavours to increase the mental wellbeing of woolgrowers in the Hume LHPA area whose stock may be under threat from wild dog predation.”
Mr Willis said to gauge the success of the wild dog control project farmers in the project area were invited to complete a survey.
“It was encouraging that more than half of the respondents found that participating in a wild dog control program improves their wellbeing,” he said.
“Landholders have acknowledged the new control methods being used including the use of Llamas and donkeys as guard animals, the coordinated efforts of the LHPA and NPWS, and greater awareness of wild dog problems as positive and innovative aspects of wild dog control programs.
“The survey also found that wild dog attacks haven’t changed over the years (63% of respondents) and the number of attacks are not any more frequent (73%).”
Furthermore Mr Willis said the survey results showed that 76% of respondents don’t intend to reintroduce sheep on their property due to wild dog issues and that 74% will not increase sheep numbers for the same reasons.
“Interestingly, only 18% of the respondents cite wild dogs as the reason for not wanting to reintroduce sheep on their property,” he said.
“Pig hunters, expansion of private pine plantations, town dogs escaping and becoming wild, and the extent of National Park were common responses to why farmers believe wild dogs have come into the area.
“Several respondents indicated that the programs coordinated by LHPA rangers are effective and successful.
“However some respondents said more needs to be done by all stakeholders.”
Landholders are encouraged to remain vigilant in reporting wild dog sightings and stock losses to the Hume LHPA so appropriate planning and resources can be directed to assisting landholders in problem areas.