Monday, November 28, 2022

Humane control programs whilst conserving protected species: National Wild Dog Action Plan 

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National Wild Dog Action Plan, Media Release, 15 November 2022

The National Wild Dog Action Plan supports the conservation of protected dingoes in Victoria’s national parks whilst limiting the impacts of wild dogs on neighbouring properties.

In response to an ABC 7.30 report on November 14, National Wild Dog Management Coordinator Greg Mifsud said 20 per cent of the state’s national park and state forests is being managed for wild dogs in the perimeter of the public estate east of the Hume Highway.

“A total of 80 per cent of the national parks and state forests is protecting dingoes, wild dogs and their hybrids where they undertake their ecosystem role and are part of the biodiversity,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Those wild dogs caught moving out of the parks and continuing onto private lands where they cause an impact are killed.

“The management program is facilitating the conservation of dingoes in the national park system in eastern Victoria.”

The ABC 7.30 report failed to mention wild dogs, dingoes and dingo-like dogs are distributed right across Victoria’s Alpine National Park.

Mr Mifsud said the wild dog control program delivered within a 3km livestock protection zone on national park boundaries acted similar to a firebreak protecting both park and private land.

The 3km perimeter livestock protection zone limits wild dogs moving onto private land killing livestock and equally limits domestic dogs moving into the vast national parks and breeding with the protected dingo.

“Just like firebreaks stop fire travelling in both directions, the control program has a dual purpose,” Mr Mifsud said.

“Realistically, out of that 20 per cent of area of the national park, wild dog control is restricted to specific targeted areas within the buffer zone at any one time.

“Wild dogs are still able to filter right through the national park onto neighbouring properties and further afield into NSW and the Canberra region.

“Local wild dog management plans clearly look at both conservation and impact.”

 When it comes to dingo and wild dog population density in Victoria, he pointed to an average of 500 to 600 wild dogs being removed by the Wild Dog program trappers in the east of the state each year for the past decade.

Mr Mifsud said the dingo population in the Victorian landscape remained healthy and was not threatened with extinction.

“The annual number of wild dogs trapped hasn’t declined which would indicate the dingo population inside the national park is healthy, sustainable and producing the same number of offspring each year,” he said.

“The Victorian Wild Dog Program is an excellent example of sustainable wildlife management where the impacts from those wildlife are reduced on private and park neighbours while the population of the dingo remains healthy and viable in the vast conservation area.

“Some of those offspring reside in the national park and others look to go outside the national park where they are controlled before causing an impact. If these dispersing dogs aren’t controlled in the 3km livestock protection zone they will move out from the parks and likely attack livestock and domestic pets not just on properties boarding the park but much further away and possibly on the outskirts of regional townships and communities.

“Once they are established in these areas, they are much harder to control as the tools currently used are limited in built-up areas, putting at risk livestock and domestic pets on rural properties and hobby farms.

“Professional wild dog controllers are required to dispatch those wild dogs under a current nationally agreed code of practice and standard operating procedures, which they do with the utmost professionalism.”

The National Wild Dog Management Plan supports and promotes the use of humane and effective best practice management techniques to deliver control programs in what can be remote and isolated areas of the country.

Mr Mifsud said the reduction of wild dogs and foxes under the baiting and trapping program has resulted in reduced stock losses whilst maintaining healthy populations of dingoes in the state’s national parks and state forests in the east of the state.

“About 20 to 30 per cent of baits are taken annually by wild dogs and foxes. Although foxes are a non-target take, this has a positive biodiversity and production benefit by removing them from the landscape.

“The results of the Victorian Wild Dog control program and the combination of ground and aerial baiting in addition to trapping has greatly reduced the number of livestock attacked and killed by wild dogs on properties adjoining the national park and public lands in Victoria.”

Mr Mifsud said wild dog management programs are undertaken using best practice techniques humanely as possible.

“We have to ensure our control programs deliver humane outcomes for those dogs being controlled.

“The Centre for Invasive Species Solutions is working with its partners including the Victorian Government on solutions to limit the time wild dogs remain in traps.

“These include alert systems that notify wild dog controllers of a dog in a trap and devices that will deliver a lethal dose of poison to render the animals unconscious followed by a humane death soon after being captured.”

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