Wild dog management

Outside (north of) the Dog Fence in South Australia, wild dogs/dingoes are neither specifically protected or declared but are acknowledged for the valuable ecological role they play in the environment. 

Land managers in this zone should limit wild dog control activities to areas where wild dog impacts on livestock and public safety are likely. To support the ecological role of the wild dog, the level of control will be restricted by limiting the amount of baits available for each property on an annual basis. In situations where annual control measures are not sufficient to reduce impacts to livestock, land managers will be required to provide evidence of this through submitting a Bait Request for Exceptional Circumstances form.

Starting in 2008, a six year Dingo Research Project co-ordinated by Natural Resources SA Arid Lands investigated the relationship between 1080 baiting, calf predation/lactation failure, and biodiversity on cattle stations outside of the Dog Fence. The report was released in 2016.  

Inside (south of) the Dog Fence, wild dogs are a declared pest under South Australia’s Natural Resources Management Act 2004. Wild dogs present a real threat to sheep grazing, the predominant livestock industry in this area.

Since 2009, the SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board, has co-ordinated the Biteback program to assist regional land managers inside the fence with best practice control for wild dogs, to co-ordinate a landscape-scale approach to control methods, and to impact on the wild dog population inside the fence. Land managers with similar geography and land systems are encouraged to work together in co-operative groups via the development of Local Area Plans (LAPs) sharing integrated best-practice control methods that include ground baiting (1080), trapping and shooting to reduce wild dog impacts. Biteback provides land managers with a bi-annual 1080 bait-mixing services, year round access to manufactured baits, access to a trap loan service and offers its LAP groups advice on future management, upcoming technologies, and interstate developments.

In addition to the Biteback program, Biosecurity SA (a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA) conducts an aerial baiting program to augment Biteback’s ground baiting program. Biteback is currently funded by the SA Sheep Industry Fund and the Regional (land-based) NRM levy and it is administered by Natural Resources SA Arid Lands on behalf of the SA Arid Lands Natural Resources Management Board.

The SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Plan is an important document for the Board and for the region, providing a guide to land managers and government staff to conduct wild dog management in the region to 2017. It will contribute to improved cattle and biodiversity outcomes outside the Dog Fence – where the wild dog/dingo is neither declared nor is it protected – and control program inside the Dog Fence where the wild dog is a declared pest. If you’re short on time check out this set of Frequently Asked Questions to better understand the key components of the plan.

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