Wild dogs are moving south

July 25th, 2016
Picture: Maxine Beaton

South Australia’s sheep industry has come under threat from a wild dog population that only seems to be getting wore. 

Wild dogs and dingo-dog hybrid numbers have become “plague-like” according to farmers in South Australia. The dogs prey on livestock and native animals but also destroy native flora. Growing pack numbers means the dogs are now able to bring down larger animals, causing problems for farmers of sheep and cattle.

The National Wild Dog group has warned of a loss of jobs and revenue in excess of one billion dollars if nothing is done to solve the problem.

Wild dogs have already destroyed farming land in Western Australia and Queensland where efforts to prevent the problem failed. The dogs have now ventured past the 5614km, two-metre high Dingo fence into more settled land where they’re feeding on lamb and sheep.

South Australia’s 11.5 million sheep flock provides employment for more than 20,000 people in jobs as diverse as farming, shearing, transport and meat processing. But job loss isn’t the only issue locals are worried about.

In Queensland wild dog numbers have grown so large that pets and people are now at risk. Gold Coast City Council have warned that attacks on pets and people have already taken place. 

There are 38 species of pathogens and parasites which have been identified in wild dog populations in Australia. There are growing concerns these diseases are being passed on to native wildlife, domestic pets and livestock.

Moving on from the threat of wild dogs on livestock, there are now plans are in place in Queensland to use death-row dingoes to stop the wild goat population from further destroying farm and pastoral land. Dingoes, desexed and fitted with tracking collars, are implanted with 1,080 poison as a fail-safe. The poison would activate after two years if the dingoes cannot be found and shot once the feral goats are killed. Australian Dingo Foundation are calling the plan cruel.

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