Coordinated control is the key for action on wild dogs

Up to $111 million dollars in lost productivity!

Each year, this is the estimated total cost to agricultural sector associated with wild dog attacks, according to the latest economic impact assessment.

The scourge of wild dogs is not going away, but slowly and surely battles are being won across the country, thanks, in part, to coordinated, cross-tenure and strategic community-led control on wild dogs. So can we turn this number around?

Greg Mifsud is the National Wild Dog Management Coordinator funded through the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions through a co-investment model that includes WoolProducers Australia, Australian Wool Innovation Ltd, Meat and Livestock Australia, Animal Health Australia, Sheep Producers Australia and the Cattle Council of Australia.

Over the past ten years Greg has been leading the national charge on wild dogs by working with multiple stakeholders to make sure wild dog (and feral animal) management activities are built into national livestock production extension programs to see feral animal control delivered as part of on-farm management activities.

Since being in his role, Greg has seen the implementation of nine industry funded regional wild dog coordinators across the country who ensure strategic programs are rolled out effectively in problematic wild dog areas such as Western QLD and NSW, South Australia, Victoria and Western Australia.

Over the next five years Greg will be working with various stakeholders to implement effective strategic wild dog management policies and programs out across all Australia, so we don’t lose the current momentum being built in the sector.

One of the major advances in the project has been the development of State wild dog advisory committees that involve both industry and government members. Greg sits on each of State wild dog advisory committees to provide information on best practice control, coordinated approaches to management and the results of current research, all of which supports the development of better informed wild dog management policies and programs.

Through the army of regional wild dog coordinators now in place, Greg is aiming to establish at least 15 new community based vertebrate pest control groups each year. However, to achieve this he also wants to ensure an improved regulatory framework for access to wild dog control products across all jurisdictions, ensuring programs can be rolled out effectively on farm without red-tape holding back action.

Just as importantly though, is empowering communities through the delivery of consistent and up to date information on integrated wild dog management to producers involved in the wool and red meat industries making sure they have access to current best practice information and surveillance mechanisms. It is also vital that communication between public and private land managers is maintained to generate more effective wild dog management outcomes.

On the flip side, Greg is also ensuring that wild dog control methods also provide improved conservation of endangered faunal communities through reduced predation following strategic and coordinated control programs for wild dogs which also reduce populations of foxes and feral cats.

Greg’s role as National Wild Dog Management Coordinators has received renewed funding until 2022.

If you’d like to contact Greg, you can email him at greg.mifsud@invasives.com.au

Greg (pictured in front group without a hat/cap) talking with producers in Western NSW at an industry funded wild dog control training day (image provided by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions).

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Greg (middle) is talking with producers about effective wild dog control methods, at the National Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 2017 (image provided by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions).