Wild dogs

Threat real for farm­ers

Midwest Times - - FRONT PAGE - Zach Relph

For pas­toral­ist John Jones, wild dogs are a se­ri­ous threat.

Their sig­nif­i­cant im­pact at the Jones’ Mid West sheep op­er­a­tion — spread across the Mur­rum and Boog­a­rdie sta­tions, near Mount Mag­net — has dras­ti­cally re­duced the fam­ily’s flock.

“They’ve dev­as­tated the area,” he said.

“We have about 2500 sheep nowa­days but there isn’t too many lambs now . . . the dogs are get­ting them.”

Mr Jones, his brother Henry and fel­low Mid West and Murchi­son pas­toral­ists af­fected by wild dogs met with WA Agri­cul­tural Min­is­ter Alan­nah MacTier­nan last month.

Ms MacTier­nan trav­elled to the his­toric gold min­ing town, which boasts a strong Merino wool his­tory, to be briefed on the Murchi­son Hub Cell fence devel­op­ment.

About 35km of the an­tic­i­pated 180km small clus­ter had been com­pleted as of Oc­to­ber 4.

Once the re­main­ing 145km is erected, the devel­op­ment will en­com­pass 227,100ha across the Mur­rum, Boog­a­rdie, Edah and Mun­binia sta­tions to pro­tect the four pas­toral leases from wild dog at­tacks.

The Jone­ses in­creased their pas­toral land­hold­ing in 2006 when they pur­chased Mur­rum Sta­tion.

As the State con­tin­ues to strug- gle with swelling wild dog pop­u­la­tions, the pests have forced the Jone­ses to scale back their sheep flock across the two sta­tions.

Yet they still har­bour a de­sire to main­tain a wool clip, de­spite many nearby pas­toral­ists opt­ing out of the shear­ing shed.

Mr Jones said the cell fence and larger Murchi­son Re­gional Ver­min Coun­cil fence devel­op­ment pro­vided hope to the re­gion’s sheep pro­duc­ers that prop­er­ties will one day be pro­tected from ver­min.

Pic­ture: Daniel Wilkins

Pas­toral­ist John Jones is hope­ful fenc­ing will con­trol wild dogs in the Murchi­son.

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