Sheep re­vival with dog fence

Countryman - - NEWS - Zach Relph

The new boss of the Gold­fields’ top biosecurity body has fore­shad­owed a re­vival of the re­gion’s sheep in­dus­try once an an­tic­i­pated anti-pest fence shields pas­toral leases from roam­ing wild dogs.

In­com­ing Gold­fields Nullar­bor Ran­ge­lands Biosecurity As­so­ci­a­tion chief ex­ec­u­tive Michelle Don­ald­son flagged Kal­go­or­lie Boul­der’ s touted wild dog clus­ter fence as key to reignit­ing the trade.

In Fe­bru­ary, the Kal­go­or­lie Pas­toral Al­liance was granted a $2 mil­lion State Govern­ment pledge to fund the de­vel­op­ment.

Once com­plete, the 950km clus­ter-cell fence will safe­guard 11 sta­tions, com­pris­ing 2.4 mil­lion hectares of pas­toral land.

Mrs Don­ald­son, who was un­veiled as chief ex­ec­u­tive Ross Wood’s suc­ces­sor last week, said pro­vid­ing fence pro­tec­tion around pas­toral leases would un­der­pin sheep re­turn­ing to the re­gion.

“Wild dogs across the Gold fields Nullar­bor range lands is the num­ber one threat ,” she said.

“We don’t have a lot of sheep pro­duc­ers be­cause of it, but hope­fully we can turn that around in the years to come. There are peo­ple who are very pas­sion­ate about go­ing into sheep, af­ter they’ve been forced into cat­tle by the wild dogs which has come at a huge cost to them. With the fence, sheep will be a vi­able op­tion again.”

As re­vealed by Coun­try­man last Thurs­day, the McGowan Govern­ment has pledged $800,000 to a new wild dog re­search and de­vel­op­ment fund to de­ter­mine pop­u­la­tion man­age­ment in WA. Half of the funds will be ded­i­cated to re­search and de­vel­op­ment grants for or­gan­i­sa­tions to ex­plore so­lu­tions to min­imise the im­pact of wild dogs on farm­ers.

Suc­cess­ful ap­pli­cants will be able to se­cure up to $150,000 to re­search or de­velop tools and tech­nolo­gies to bol­ster wild dog de­tec­tion, re­port­ing, con­trol and man­age­ment.

Mrs Don­ald­son said the GNRBA would make an ap­pli­ca­tion to tap into the avail­able funds in an at­tempt to im­prove its wild dog mit­i­ga­tion mea­sures.

“We cer­tainly will be putting in an ap­pli­ca­tion. On what pro­ject? We don’t know yet, but a strate­gic and ef­fec­tive ap­proach is needed.”

Mr Wood will of­fi­cially de­part his post at the year’s end.

Pic­ture: Tori O’Con­nor

Michelle Don­ald­son and Ross Wood with a dog trap.

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