Wild dog measures ‘improving’

Dr Bill Sykes says wild dog control measures are improving.
Dr Bill Sykes says wild dog control measures are improving.

THE effectiveness of wild dog control on private and public land in Victoria is increasing through a variety of methods according to the parliamentary secretary for primary industries Bill Sykes.

Dr Sykes spoke this week at a wild dog management forum at Strath Creek and said new initiatives had been implemented.

The government’s wild dog action plan was launched in December last year.

He said dogs were a problem in the North East and Gippsland including areas around Omeo, Tallangatta, Corryong, Mansfield, Eildon and the Ovens and King valleys.

“All land managers have a responsibility for wild dog control,” Dr Sykes said.

“Our action plan encourages everyone to work together using all available tools including baiting, trapping, shooting, exclusion fencing and good animal husbandry.

“The government is committed to reducing the impact of wild dogs both on livestock producers along with fauna, and we are working closely with communities to achieve this.

“Wild dogs pose a significant threat to Victoria’s livestock industry at an estimated cost of $13 to $18 million per year.

“This has an impact on productivity, animal welfare, social wellbeing and the environment.”

Dr Sykes said aerial baiting on public land in East Gippsland and the North East began in May to complement its existing wild dog program.

An interstate bait supply pilot program has also been introduced to improve landholder access to 1080 baits.

“We have also sought local knowledge in the development of new work plans for each of the 15 wild dog management zones which specify operational targets including program baiting and trapping capacity and contribution from community wild dog control groups,” Dr Sykes said.

He said East Gippsland’s Southern Ark fox baiting program would be altered to include more wild dog baiting over longer periods throughout the year.

“The Southern Ark program previously deployed dog baits in place of fox baits during autumn and spring only,” he said.

“But it will now swap 1200 fox baits for wild dog baits year-round.”