Dry weather pushes wild dog pop­u­la­tions east

Gatton Star - - NEWS -

WILD dogs are not only get­ting more ag­gres­sive, but they’re also in­creas­ing in num­bers, ac­cord­ing to pro­fes­sional feral an­i­mal pest controller Tony Hopkins.

The Helidon man has been hunt­ing wild dogs for more than 30 years as both a hobby and pro­fes­sion, and he has been doc­u­ment­ing the in­crease.

The owner of Feral An­i­mal Con­trol Ser­vice said while wild dogs were orig­i­nally more of an is­sue in western parts of the state, pop­u­la­tions were mov­ing east.

He said the drought could be caus­ing wild dogs to look for food in dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tions.

“More peo­ple are mov­ing into the (Lock­yer Val­ley) area with sheep and goats too,” Mr Hopkins said.

He said the num­ber of wild dogs he killed last year al­most tripled the amount of pre­vi­ous years.

“Usu­ally you pick up two or three a year, last year I got nine and seven of those were only two or three kilo­me­tres from our house,” he said.

Mr Hopkins said he was also sight­ing more wild dogs.

Within the past fort­night there has been at least six sep­a­rate wild dog at­tacks, which have ei­ther killed or maimed an­i­mals. Res­i­dents re­ported sheep, a calf and a pony to all be at­tacked.

Mr Hopkins said the num­ber of feral an­i­mals were in­creas­ing be­cause hunt­ing was a costly bur­den.

“The feral an­i­mal pop­u­la­tion is on the in­crease be­cause of the cost of li­cenc­ing, the cost of fuel and be­cause it takes a lot of time,” he said.

Lock­yer Val­ley Re­gional Coun­cil of­fered hunters $25 per wild dog scalp.

The Wild Dog, Fox and Pig 1080 Bait­ing Pro­gram was also avail­able to el­i­gi­ble res­i­dents.

Bait col­lec­tion will take place at var­i­ous places across the Lock­yer Val­ley from May 22, but res­i­dents have to ap­ply be­fore 4.30pm on Wed­nes­day, May 15 if they wish to col­lect.

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