Com­mu­nity ap­proach tack­les pest prob­lem

Peo­ple power starts to im­pact pest num­bers

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Front Page - DIGBY HILDRETH Digby.hildreth@north­erns­tar.com.au

SOME landown­ers have re­ported pos­i­tive re­sults from a com­mu­nity- based ap­proach to the prob­lem of wild dog ac­tiv­ity in the Al­stonville area.

A recent sur­vey by pro­gram or­gan­iser North Coast Lo­cal Land Ser­vices in­di­cated a re­turn of wildlife since bait­ing pro­grams had been ini­ti­ated.

And one prop­erty owner re­ports not hav­ing seen any dog ac­tiv­ity on their out­door cam­era for a long time.

The LLS has been work­ing with the com­mu­nity and lo­cal stake­hold­ers to ad­dress the prob­lem fol­low­ing an es­ca­la­tion in at­tacks on do­mes­tic dogs and live­stock and ris­ing con­cerns about wild dogs im­pact­ing wildlife.

A com­mu­nity meet­ing in late July drew nearly 100 at­ten­dees, af­ter which it of­fered land­holder train­ing, with 18 prop­er­ties adopt­ing a group bait­ing pro­gram across the Al­stonville plateau.

Se­nior biosecurity of­fi­cer Tony Hef­fer­nan said ef­fec­tive com­mu­nity en­gage­ment was a ma­jor part of ef­fec­tive wild dog con­trol, with peo­ple ac­tively in­volved.

He said it was es­pe­cially im­por­tant as prop­erty own­er­ship in ru­ral ar­eas was un­der­go­ing a shift.

“Tra­di­tion­ally, land­hold­ers im­pacted by wild dogs have been es­tab­lished live­stock pro­duc­ers on large land­hold­ings.

“With ur­ban spread into ru­ral ar­eas and the in­crease in the num­ber of lifestyle prop­er­ties, it is in­creas­ingly the peri-ur­ban fringe now be­ing im­pacted by wild dog is­sues.”

The LLS was pleased with the en­thu­si­asm and up­take of the pro­gram in the smaller hold­ings in the peri-ur­ban area around Al­stonville.

This re­flects the ex­pe­ri­ence in the Whian Whian area that has a sim­i­lar land­scape to the

❝ It is in­creas­ingly the peri-ur­ban fringe now be­ing im­pacted by wild dog is­sues.

— Tony Hef­fer­nan

Al­stonville plateau.

The Whian Whian group has been ac­tive for sev­eral years in an area with hor­ti­cul­ture and live­stock pro­duc­ers.

“That group is also fo­cused on wildlife con­ser­va­tion, along with live­stock pro­tec­tion, and we are hop­ing to grow the Al­stonville plateau pro­gram into a long stand­ing pro­gram sim­i­lar to their ap­proach,” Mr Hef­fer­nan said.

In­va­sive species team leader Dean Cham­ber­lain said the NCLLS also pro­vides a free ver­te­brate pest train­ing course to land­hold­ers that pro­vides par­tic­i­pants with in­for­ma­tion rel­e­vant to the avail­able meth­ods and prac­ti­cal skills to im­prove wild dog con­trol.

“The course has been pro­vided to more than 1000 land­hold­ers since it be­gan in 2010 and, as it pro­vides a five-year ac­cred­i­ta­tion, pre­vi­ous par­tic­i­pants should check to see if their train­ing is still cur­rent.”

Res­i­dents who have seen wild dog ac­tiv­ity or have been im­pacted are en­cour­aged to re­port it to NCLLS.

Land­hold­ers in­ter­ested in par­tic­i­pat­ing in a wild dog group are en­cour­aged to con­tact the NCLLS biosecurity of­fi­cer.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

TAK­ING AC­TION: More than 100 Al­stonville plateau res­i­dents at­tended the com­mu­nity meet­ing, lead­ing to many par­tic­i­pat­ing in train­ing and group bait­ing pro­grams.

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