GAINING GROUND: Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board rabbit compliance co-ordinator Will Dobbie chats with Clifton Landcare chairman Grant Canning and member Nola Leeson at the Balance Workshop held in Clifton.
GAINING GROUND: Darling Downs-Moreton Rabbit Board rabbit compliance co-ordinator Will Dobbie chats with Clifton Landcare chairman Grant Canning and member Nola Leeson at the Balance Workshop held in Clifton. Linda Mantova

Mistakes fatal for wild dogs

"IF ALL wild dogs in their everyday life encounter at least one management tool every day, be it a trap or bait, they will eventually make the fatal mistake"…that was the message sent to attendees of the first in a series of Balance Workshops being conducted in Clifton last week.

The workshop, held on Wednesday and conducted by the Condamine Alliance, was addressed by guest speaker Biosecurity Queensland senior wild dog officer Clynton Spencer, of Stanthorpe.

Mr Spencer outlined strategies for best controlling and managing wild dogs in the region.

He said landholders needed to work together to combat wild dogs.

"There needs to be more communication and ownership of the problem," Mr Spencer said.

"Properties can get reinfested continually when neighbours do nothing.

"Any pest management activities must be co-ordinated, by integrating tools across the landscape (baiting, trapping and shooting by everyone)."

Mr Spencer said landholders needed to "know the devil" they were dealing with.

"They must identify and consult with stakeholders in the control area," he said.

"Dogs know no boundaries, so the key to increased success is high level community engagement.

"In the planning phase, we take the boundaries off the map (nil tenure) and concentrate on the pest and its impact with allocated agreed solutions.

"Then place the tenure boundaries back on, and the control program is progressed."

Mr Spencer said Biosecurity Queensland had one existing wild dog officer and had employed four officers to assist with the wild dog problem.

"We also have maps of corridors where dogs move through the landscape, plus maps of sightings," he said.

Mr Spencer said the Southern Downs Regional Council Wild Dog Management Advisory Committee, set up 18 months ago, was split into 12 working groups across 7000 square kilometres.

"So there are lots of different visions of how to control this pest," he said.

As far as landholders go, though, he believed the most important points were to take ownership of the problem, to develop a plan of action, set measurable objectives, and record data, to determine whether a certain strategy was a success or a failure.

Coming up to Spring, Mr Spencer said pups were becoming independent and more susceptible to fresh meat baits and traps.

"They are getting kicked out of the home pack structure from September onwards, so we need active controls, such as baiting, trapping and shooting, as well as prevention in the form of fences and guardian animals," he said.

"Dogs don't just drop out of Mars though, so control tools need to be in place for 12 months of the year.

"Most of all we want to stop the spread of the pest."



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