Wild dogs are a big problem for graziers in the high country of Gippsland. Of course, its a complex problem: should we be running sheep in areas adjacent to national parks where there will be populations of dingoes or wild dogs? Should farmers be electrifying the boundaries of their properties (and what are the impacts of that on other species like kangaroos and wombats?). Is shooting, trapping or baiting more humane?
The following update comes from the ABC, the journalist is Laura Poole.
Victoria is preparing to drop 4,000 wild dog baits from helicopters over 400 kilometres next month.
Wild dogs are a major pest for sheep and cattle producers in the high country in north-east Victoria and in Gippsland, as they kill hundreds of sheep and cattle.
The Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning will begin aerial baiting for wild dogs in the high country in late October.
Wild dog community engagement officer, Barry Davies, said they were targeting the same areas they did last year.
“The baits are dropped over two or three days, we operate out of Mount Hotham, once all the signs are up and the approvals are done we’ll be into it,” he said.
Ensay farmers, in East Gippsland’s high country, said the pressure from wild dogs had reduced this year.
Many farmers in the area have spent thousands on new electric fences to keep the dogs from killing their stock.
Holston’s Pastoral Company chief executive, Stewart Moroney, said they had spent about $140,000 on the material and labour to build new fences.
“They pretty much had a free reign and we’ve come in and put a three wire hot electric fence around the property, and internals as well,” he said.
“We’ve shot, and trapped and baited and we haven’t seen or heard anything now for four or five months so it’s good.”
Mr Moroney runs properties in East Gippsland producing beef to sell under the company’s two brand names.
He has had the Ensay property for about 10 months.
“When we first came here there was no electric fences and the existing fencing system was pretty tired an buggered,” he said.
“There’s so many methods these days to control them.
“We figured if we were on the front foot we would be able to have a pretty good impact on them and so far we have.”
Ensay farmer Craig Lloyd produces prime lambs on his mountain property.
He said his mindset on wild dogs had changed significantly in the last decade.
“About 10 years ago I was ready to throw it in,” he said.
“Just the stress of it all, I’d be up all hours of the night and get up in the morning and have dead lambs lying everywhere.
“I thought I’d get out of sheep or I’d put electric fences up.
“Over the last 10 years I’ve got the whole farm fenced to keep not only dogs out, but to keep kangaroos, wombats and deer out too.
“I haven’t had an attack now since I’ve had the farm completely fenced. It’s a lot easier on the mind.”