A change in attitude on wild dogs

One of the many sheep Brindabella farmer Noeline Franklin has lost to wild dogs

Farmers say they felt that they were “treated with respect” at the most recent meeting of the Goobarragandra Wild Dog Working Group, even though they are still pushing for a full-time trapper.

Brindabella farmer Noeline Franklin said she thought that her concerns and ideas were, at the very least, taken on board.

“People like [dog-effected Goobarragandra farmer] Lindsay Buckley: instead of being made a laughing stock, he was treated with respect,” she said.

“Same story with [Talbingo farmer] Beryl Ryan, they didn’t have to defend their requests to have something done.

“That’s been a huge change in attitude, and I think is the first step to negotiating a pest animal controller and a decent amount of resources attracted to that plan from various sources.”

The farmers are pushing for a jointly-funded pest animal controller, which would be a full-time employee bringing down feral animals of all stripes, from dogs and cats to pigs and deer.

However, Noeline did say the agencies had increased their baiting, to some effect.

“Baits have brought about a long awaited knockdown of unsustainable dog populations running rampant across the region causing unacceptable loss of wildlife and domestic animals,” she said.

Beryl Ryan added that it was clear that the Local Lands Service (LLS) and Forestry Corporation, who along with National Parks constitute the working group, had put in a considerable effort to assist with their wild dog problems.

“I did say to Toby O’Brien with the LLS that we we’re really happy with his work; he’s been doing a really good job with his record keeping and everything he has to do, so I did compliment him on that,” she said.

“Forestry are working a lot harder than National Parks, they’re doing a lot more towards dog control.

“We’re still pushing the point to try and get a full time trapper. We’ve been told to go higher up which we’ve done in the past and nothing gets done. One question I did ask is how Forestry can afford one and a half trappers when their business is trees, and National Parks don’t have any, and their business is native animals. That’s a bit puzzling to me.”

Meanwhile, the community is invited to a public presentation on NPWS’s Wild Dog Monitoring Project at the Tumut Golf Club, Wednesday September 13, commencing at 5.00pm.

Guy Ballard from the University of New England will talk attendees through the program and its results, which involved capturing wild dogs, fitting them with satellite monitoring collars, and releasing them back into the park to learn more about their movements.