26 September 2023

Research action planning to collar wild dogs

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New approaches to wild dog management are being tested by the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD).

In a statement, the Department said it hoped the research would help protect livestock in the State’s Southern Rangelands.

It said the work was being conducted under the $13.4 million Wild Dog Action Plan 2021-2025 and would complement existing control techniques.

Research Scientist at the DPIRD, Tracey Kreplins said Ceres smart tag technology, novel odours to improve bait lure uptake, and the use of squawkers and howlers were being trialled on a number of stations in an effort to deter wild dogs from livestock production areas.

“Ceres tag technology uses a high-tech tag connected directly to satellites to provide a range of unique capabilities, including GPS tracking of cattle,” Dr Kreplins said.

“As well as the GPS tracking, the tags provide real-time identification of individual cattle, animal-specific data such as their feeding rate, and movement surveillance,” she said.

Dr Kreplins said the technology, originally designed for cattle producers, might improve the understanding of wild dogs and the DPIRD’s ability to closely study interactions between wild dogs and cattle movement.

Dr Kreplins said baiting was another important tool in wild dog management, which in some cases could be made more effective through the use of canid pest ejectors (CPEs), a mechanical device with an interchangeable lure head that could be left in place for extended periods.

The Research Scientist said the Department had been testing ‘squawkers’ and ‘howlers’ in the cell fencing areas since February 2019 with some success, and had expanded the trial along the State Barrier Fence last year.

“These non-lethal deterrents use motion-activated speakers around fenced areas to keep dogs out of livestock production areas,” she said.

“So far, our research shows these techniques work best on a small scale,” Dr Kreplins said.

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