Wild dogs released in NSW national parks, in the name of research
Local Lands Services in conjunction with Primary Industries, National Parks and NSW Forestry have started a collaborative project as part of a much larger project across NSW monitoring wild dog movements. Understanding the characteristics of the wild dog behavior can assist the development of targeted control practices. This will lead to more efficient use of resources.
The key aim is to gather important data to help control and eradicate the dogs, to protect livestock and native animals.
"We've collared [and released] 30 dogs in the landscape around the Riverina Highlands," said Riverina Local Land Services officer Michael Leane.
"We've been tracking those dogs in the last 12 months and looking at how effective our control methods have been in relation to those collared dogs."
Local Land Services staff use helicopters to retrieve the collars, which are often in inaccessible country.
"It is trekking through a fair bit of scrub and bush to find them," Mr Leane said.
Some of the collars have been found stuck in logs, down deep gullies, and even in wombat holes.
Through the use of GPS collaring of wild dogs and the use of remote sensor cameras the project aims to provide a better understanding of the size and distribution of the wild dog problem across a landscape scale.
Once the collars were retrieved, they provided rangers with crucial data.
"Some dogs have stayed in a relatively small geographical area, which is probably related to the food source there, while other dogs have taken up and moved 35-40km overnight," Mr Leane said.
Wild dogs are a serious problem in the region, and some local landholders are sceptical about whether the data will be enough to justify releasing the dogs.
But the Local Land Service said information about dog movements, would make pest management programs more effective in the future.
Wild dogs are listed as a Key Threatening Process (KTP) to biodiversity as well as causing production losses to agriculture. Therefore this holistic study will allow for greater biodiversity outcomes and increased agricultural production with wild dog control strategies in place.
The data is being collated online, and available through the NSW Local Land Services website.