Hunter Local Land Services begins annual autumn baiting program to control wild dogs

DESTRUCTIVE: Wild dogs are being targeted in an annual baiting program by Hunter Local Land Services. Lake Macquarie and Central Coast landowners can sign up for help on their properties. Picture: Fairfax Media
DESTRUCTIVE: Wild dogs are being targeted in an annual baiting program by Hunter Local Land Services. Lake Macquarie and Central Coast landowners can sign up for help on their properties. Picture: Fairfax Media

PROPERTY owners in Lake Macquarie and on the Central Coast are being invited to sign on for Hunter Local Land Services’ annual autumn baiting program for wild dog control.

The program has begun across the region.

It combines aerial and ground baiting to help landowners remove wild dogs that impact livestock and native species.

The program is part of Hunter Local Land Services’ $1.4-million biosecurity program this year.

In the Upper Hunter, more than 180 landholders took part in the aerial baiting program – an increase of five per cent on 2017 - targeting an area from Lostock to Scone.

The program covered 755 kilometres, with more than 31,000 baits dropped, often in remote and hard-to-reach country.

Biosecurity team leader Luke Booth said it was a credit to the community that so many landowners supported the program, despite the ongoing drought.

“We know how tough it is for so many producers at the moment and we are conscious of the added pressure many are under caring for their livestock and properties,” Mr Booth said.

“Controlling pest species is an important part of managing through drought and Hunter Local Land Services is working with landholders to help them remove problem wild dogs and other feral animals impacting their properties.

“When we all work together across the region, that’s when we can have the most success at removing wild dogs, and given the current conditions are impacting animal health and making some animals vulnerable to more predators it is more important than ever.”

Aerial and ground baiting is the base level of control activity and underpins other programs such as trapping and shooting.

“This is a crucial time of year for wild dog control as the animals are most active before winter,” Mr Booth said.

 “We have found by changing the type of baits we use for the ground and aerial programs we are able to complete the program more efficiently, with fewer impacts from poor weather.”

One dog recently controlled in the Wybong district had killed more than 160 sheep in the last 12 months. 

Landowners in Lake Macquarie and on the Central Coast who are interested in learning more about the baiting program are asked to contact Lower Hunter biosecurity officer, Kyra O'Brien, on 0427 492 958.

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