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Sheepmeat Council : Sheepmeat 2012
38 SHEEPMEAT COUNCIL OF AUSTRALIA ANNUAL MUSTER 2012 Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre Sheep under attack but help is at hand Wild dogs cause an enormous mental and emotional impact as well as a financial one on farm production, and taking a strategic approach to pest management is providing a sense of empowerment for landholders involved. In Queensland, losses from wild dogs were estimated at around $33 million in 2002– 03 prices. By 2008–09, the cost had grown to $67 million. In Victoria, the ‘opportunity cost’ of wild dogs – which included moving sheep production away from areas where wild dog attacks were occurring as well as management costs – conservatively estimated at between $13 and $18 million. In NSW, the then Rural Lands Protection Board showed the damage from wild dogs increasing, even though more graziers were getting out of sheep. While part of this exodus was due to low wool prices, for many the dog attacks were the straw that broke the camel’s back. Research is progressing on new baits, antidotes and traps, amongst other things. People champing at the bit to put these innovations to use as soon as they are approved which may be sometime in 2012–13. PAPP fox and wild dog bait Australian Wool Innovation and Meat & Livestock Australia are major investors alongside the Invasive Animals CRC, researching a complementary wild dog and fox toxin to 1080 called PAPP. This novel toxin has the advantage of the Bluehealer® In five years of talking to thousands of landholders at meetings in all States and Territories in his role as National Wild Dog Facilitator, Greg Mifsud has heard some horrific tales of what the predators can do to livestock. antidote should a farm working dog be accidentally poisoned. In the past, landholders have been told how to kill a wild dog – ‘here’s how to set a trap’, ‘here’s what you do with 1080 bait’. Landholders have seen a new spring loaded mechanical ejector in development and they know the value it could add to their program by delivering a lethal dose of poison into the animal’s mouth when triggered. While this will always remain useful, the innovation of the National Wild Dog Facilitator project is to give communities a practical framework to work together to manage the overall problem rather than just eradicate animals on their own land. Mr Mifsud believes that the strength of his project lies with the people involved. The role of the Advisory Group members cannot be underestimated. They travel the country to attend meetings and have been instrumental in developing better working relationships between producers and agency staff in wild dog affected communities as well as providing state agency staff and politicians with a better understanding of the impacts of wild dogs on producers. Wild dog and fox trapping DVD With funding from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, the Invasive Animals CRC has produced a self-help DVD ‘Managing Vertebrate Pests - introduction to using foot hold traps for the capture of wild dogs and foxes’. This DVD has been distributed to more than 2,000 landholders across the country. The DVD includes State-by-State guides to regulations for the use of foot hold traps and provides a snapshot of proven tips and techniques from a variety of locations across Australia. It contains two hours of footage and was produced with the guidance of professional trappers to enable landholders to confidently undertake trapping as part of an integrated wild dog control program. Copies of the free DVD are available by contacting the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre. Email email@example.com Call (02) 6201 2887