Wild dogs take huge bite out of goat population

Wild dogs are becoming a major threat to NSW’s rangeland goat population, with landholders reporting a significant decrease in the number of kids in western NSW. Photo courtesy of the Newcastle Herald.WITH goat prices and demand going through the roof, suppliersare hard at work combing widespread areas in western NSW andmustering rangeland goats.
Nanjing Night Net

But they are not the only ones on the hunt.

Wild dogs have acquired a taste for goat, and according to Bruce Duncan, they could have a devastating effect on rangeland goat populations.

Mr Duncan, who, as the western NSW wild dog coordinator, assistslandholders to carry out baiting and trapping programs, said it is a growing problem.

He said wild dogs had caused huge damage togoat populations in Western Australia and Queensland.

“Goats were all but extinct in some of those areas,” he said.“We should look at it with significant trepidation.”

Mr Duncan said despite the fact goat numbers are difficult tomonitor,landholders in western NSWhadnoticed a dip in the population.

“In placeslike Wanaaring and Ivanhoe, people have noticeddecreases in the number of kids,” he said.

Mr Duncan said losses are also occurringinclosed goat systems, which are monitored and fenced in.

A number of organisations are helping to deal with wild dogs, including Australian Wool Innovation, Landcare and Local Land Services.Mr Duncan’srole is about working with groups to manage wild dogs, includingtrapping schools and organisingbaiting programs.

“It is about giving people a chance to use a broad range of control tools,” he said.“We can deal with this problem if we all work together.”

This is echoed by Brett Carlsson, who is the Qldwild dog coordinator.

He said wild dogs have been a problem in the state for a long time, but that in the last five to 10 yearsthere hadbeen more dog activity.

“We are seeing an influx of dogs into areas where they weren’tprevalent,” he said.

He said Qldsheep numbers had plummeted, partly because of dog attacks, taking a bigtoll onlandholders.

“They are going out every day and finding injured and dead sheep. The dogs kill for fun, not food,” he said.

Mr Carlsson said participation in dog control programs makes a huge difference.“We have been going in leaps and bounds in Qldin getting groups to work together,” he said.

Goat Industry Council of Australia president Rick Gates is impressed with the efforts being made to control wild dogs.“A lot of great work is being done,” he said.

But hesaid there is a need for new innovation.“We need to look as far and wide as we can. For instance, I don’t think exclusionfences should be discounted.We need new ideas.”

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