Fierce fight against feral dogs pays off

HIGH ALERT: Tallangatta Valley farmer Stuart Morant is thankful wild dog activity in the Upper Murray region is down on last year, when it was described as “chaotic”.
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WILD dogs are taking the bait in the Upper Murray.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning figures show3969 wild dog baits have been laid in the 2015-16 financial yearwith a 25 per cent take rate.

That is on the back of5519 baits going down in 2014-15 with a 15 per centtake rate.

More than 90 wild dogs were killed by trapping or shooting in 2014-15 with 40 of the destructive pests trapped or shot so far in 2015-16.

While the DELWP waspleased with the figures, farmers in the Upper Murray say wild dogs still presenta huge problem and there was plenty of work to be done.

“This time last year, it was chaotic, dogs were everywhere,” Tallangatta Valley farmer Stuart Morant said.

“We are delighted it’s quiet at the moment but we know it can change at any time.

“They are highly intelligent animals, they haven’t survived this long without being smart.

“That’s why, as farmers, we have always pushed the value of the dog trappers because they really do an outstanding job.”

A new wild dog controller will soon be appointed in the Upper Murray region, which takes in Corryong, Walwa, Granya, Tallangatta Valley and Mitta.

DELWPhas advertised for a controller to replace the experiencedBrian McNamara, who waswidely regarded as one of the best dogmen in the North Eastwith more than 30 years in the position.

The new dogman will be one of four operating in the Upper Murray and will work under Ian Campbell.

It is estimated wild dogs cause between $13 million and $18 million in livestock losses in Victoria each year.

DELWP wild dog engagement officerBarry Davies said the feedback to anaerial baiting program late last year had been positive.

“Aerial baiting provides an additional element to wild dog management, complementing on-ground measures such as baiting, trapping and exclusion fencing,”he said.

“General feedbackis that wild dog activity is at its lowest level it has been for a number of years.”

A review into theWild Dog Control Advisory Committee was ongoing.

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