LIVESTOCK SA is continuing its call for immediate action from the State Government in response to a huge increase in wild dog populations in pastoral regions north of Port Augusta.
Since the start of 2017, 91 wild dogs have been caught or shot on several stations near Roxby Downs to north of Port Augusta.
President Geoff Power said it was critical that the State Government reinstated funding for two wild dog trappers in northern South Australia to ensure that wild dogs did not continue to move further south. Numbers had increased significantly on country inside the Dog Fence, with wild dogs breeding on land no longer managed by graziers.
While Federal Government funding had resulted in the 12-month appointment of a wild dog coordinator, due to start later this month, SA has not employed wild dog trappers since early 2016, when a Federal Government drought support program ended.
Livestock SA believes $300,000 a year would mean wild dog control could be undertaken at a level that would protect the agricultural industry.
President Geoff Power says Livestock SA believes the escalating number of wild dogs on ‘inside country’ – areas south of the dog fence – was putting the sheep industry at serious risk in these areas.
“It is critical from an economic and welfare perspective that wild dogs are controlled to protect this sustainable sheep industry,” he said.
“Once again, we plead for State Government help on this issue. It is vital that this happens straight away to get on top of this problem and stop the spread of wild dogs further south in the state.”
Mr Power, who visited Queensland last week as part of a National Wild Dog Action Plan meeting, said wild dogs had decimated the QLD sheep industry.
“Twenty-five years ago, the sheep population in QLD was about 20 million, but the latest statistics showed it had dropped to under 2m, with wild dogs the major reason for the switch,” he said.
“It is vital that we stop wild dogs now to protect the agricultural and livestock industries from these types of losses. This is particularly important with lamb and wool prices currently at record highs – it is a key economic industry in northern SA.”