Wild Dogs

Wild Dogs

Issue:
It is widely recognised that wild dogs cause significant physical and financial impacts on the sheep, cattle and goat industries in Queensland through predation, disease transmission and lost production.  The production costs were previously summarised in a 'Blueprint for the Bush' report* which found that in 2008/09 wild dogs had a significant economic impact on Queensland grazing industries, costing an estimated $67 million in direct losses and costs.  This does not consider the indirect cost from the deterioration in the mental health and well-being of numerous primary producers who carry an increasing level of stress due to the worry and anxiety of protecting their livestock from wild dog attack. Anecdotally, it is considered by many industry sources today that this annual cost equates to more than $100 million.

Over the last five years, both State and Federal Governments have contributed approximately $20 million through the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative (QFPI) and the Queensland Department of Natural Resource Management (DNRM) to assist producers to build exclusion fencing to protect Queensland's sheep flock.  These programs have been instrumental in rebuilding the confidence and ability of Queensland's graziers to once again operate a sheep and wool production enterprise free from crippling predation. 

Landholder surveys from the Central-west Queensland area alone, indicate expectations that sheep numbers in this area will increase from 365,600 to 714,200 (+348,600), generating an additional $8.57 million per annum in wages from shearing, crutching and lamb marking.  Additionally, an LPM Creative Solutions 2013 feasibility study into a "wild dog check fence for Central-west Queensland" assessed a $3.35 benefit to the region for every $1 the government spent on building exclusion fences, generating an additional ninety Full Time Equivalents to the region's workforce. 

Solutions AgForce advocates:

 

  • A commitment from the State Government to continue to assist Queensland's sheep producers by providing no less than $5 million annually toward exclusion fencing until every sheep producer in Queensland has been given the opportunity to benefit from these funding initiatives
  • The State Government to seek matching dollar for dollar funding from the Commonwealth Government to assist with meeting the exclusion fencing need.


*Source:  Major Economic Costs Associated with Wild Dogs in the Queensland Grazing Industry (Hewitt, 2009)

Empowering Producers

AgForce continues to lead the way on empowering Queensland producers to manage wild dogs and reduce the economic impacts to their enterprises; whilst consistently playing a major role in keeping the issue of wild dogs at both the State Government and Commonwealth Government levels.

The Queensland Government’s 2008 initiative to form the Queensland Dog Offensive Group (QDOG) is still maintained, where AgForce’s two member representatives Peter Lucas (sheep) and Michael McKellar (cattle) continue to keep wild dogs a priority issue for the Government.

AgForce has a wild dog committee which includes landholders from both inside and outside the wild dog barrier fence and peri-urban representatives. This committee feeds information to QDOG representatives and discusses resolutions from grass root members.


Wild dog projects

AgForce also continues to manage the Queensland Wild Dog Coordinator project.  This Project has operated for the past 5 years, with joint funding being negotiated in late 2017 between the Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Australian Wool Innovation, Meat & Livestock Australia and the two Queensland regional bodies of the Remote Area Planning and Development Board (RAPAD) and South West Regional Economic Development Association (SWRED) to extend operations for a further three (3) years and expand the Project from one (1) Coordinator to three (3).  The Project will support three (3) regional areas of Queensland with on-ground advisory, coordination and monitoring and evaluation framework development, assisting Queensland landholders and Local Government personnel to manage the issue of pest animals, particularly, wild dogs.

The aim of the Project is to educate landholders, build capacity of local governments and increase control and management participation measures to reduce the impacts of wild dogs on rural enterprises.  The Coordinators will, through the provision of activities ranging from community engagement and group extension, to one on one negotiations, build the capacity of communities, local councils and producers to plan and manage the control of vertebrate pests.


Want to know more?

Download the Major Economic costs associated with Wild Dogs report or contact Michael Allpass on (07) 3236 3100, or email.

 

Wild Dogs

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