Wild dogs' financial impact almost doubles in 5 years since 2009

The economic impact of wild dogs has almost doubled since 2009 because of strong commodity prices.

A NSW Natural Resource Commission report – Cost of Pest Animals in NSW and Australia, 2013-14 – showed rabbits, wild dogs, foxes, feral pigs and other vertebrate pests cost Australian agriculture $797 million a year.

“Our agricultural products, such as Australian beef and wool are world class and are making top dollar on the market,” Centre for Invasive Species Solutions chief executive Andreas Glanznig said.

“These increased commodity prices have contributed to the nearly doubling of the national economic impact of wild dogs, which is on average at $89 million per year. The last analysis (2009) had wild dog costs at $48 million per year.

“Underlying this cost is the huge number of lamb, sheep, calve, cattle and goat deaths and mauling’s that have impacted the producer's bottom-line and livelihood.”

The report analyses the economic impact of pest animals relating to production losses from livestock attacks and competition, along with the management costs associated their control.

The report also found that the cost of pest animals to the beef industry alone are up to $220 million a year, and losses to wool industry is at nearly $100 million a year.

Centre for Invasive Species Solutions’ Ian McDonald said the report highlighted the need for continued vigilance.

“It’s not necessarily saying the problem’s getting worse or better, it’s saying if there is an attack it’s burning the pocket a bit more,” Dr McDonald said.

“It still just showcases the need to maintain that control. Even if you think the problem’s getting better, like you’re not seeing as many dogs, the farmer still loses economically.”

Mr Glanznig reiterated how important it was for government, industry and community groups to act on this significant national problem.

“Just over the past few years governments and industry have invested many millions for research and development of new tools and technologies, as well as for strategic landscape management such as cluster fencing, to tackle pest animal problems,” Mr Glanznig said.

“These new figures emphasise the need for strong, coordinated and collaborative action.”

The report can be found at www.pestsmart.org.au.