Aerial baits for wild dogs

A LONG campaign to better equip the fight against wild dogs was rewarded yesterday with a government announcement approving trial aerial baiting in North-East Victoria.

The federal government granted approval to the state government to start an aerial baiting program during the next five years at three North East sites and three East Gippsland locations.

They are: Burrowa and Wabba (near Corryong); Bullhead (south of Tallangatta); Bindi and the Angora-Cobungra region (near Omeo) and also Crown land across the Wonnangatta-Punchen-Budweid region.

Baiting will start from May.

“It’s quite an announcement,” Tallangatta Valley farmer Michael McCormack said.

Mr McCormack, who chairs the national wild dog management advisory group, said it had been a more than 10-year fight.

“Eventually, we got it over the line,” Mr McCormack said.

“Aerial baiting is regarded as best practice in wild dog control nationally, every other state can do it, so why not Victoria?”

Aerial baiting involves dropping meat injected with 1080 from a government-owned helicopter into public land frequented by wild dogs.

Mr McCormack said he hopes the aerial baiting would be expanded so there is one “drop” in autumn and another in spring to capture the 10- to 12-week-old pups who are no longer being fed by their mothers and need food.

State Agriculture Minister Peter Walsh said he was proud to see a key election promise being fulfilled.

“Helping to control wild dogs in Victoria is a key priority of this government,” Mr Walsh said.

“The vicious pests prey on newborn lambs and calves, as well as native fauna, causing both emotional and financial hardship for rural communities.”

Member for Benalla Bill Sykes also welcomed the announcement, recalling many meetings between MPs and landowners throughout Victoria calling for more to be done to control the spread of wild dogs.

Increased access to 1080 poison for livestock producers to use for ground-baiting in an interstate trial program was also announced yesterday.

It means authorised 1080 bait users can buy fresh and shelf-stable baits from the Murray Local Land Services at Holbrook, instead of having to drive to Melbourne or Bairnsdale as required in the past.

For more information go to depi.vic.gov.au/wilddogs.

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