Dog control vital for WA’s pastoral wool trade

Zach RelphCountryman
Wild dogs are widespread across the State’s pastoral stations.
Camera IconWild dogs are widespread across the State’s pastoral stations. Credit: DAFWA

The biosecurity expert tasked with spearheading WA’s wild dog action plan has flagged controlling the savage canine’s sprawl as key to revitalising the rangelands once-vibrant wool industry.

Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development wild dog action plan project officer Barry Davies is confident four cluster-cell fencing projects developing across the State will become crucial to nullifying the pests’ population.

Mr Davies told last Thursday’s pastoral forum at the two-day Pastoralists and Graziers Association convention in Perth that wild dogs remained rampant.

He noted wild dogs had forced many WA leaseholders to destock their flocks in an attempt to avoid attacks on sheep.

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However, Mr Davies — a former Bencubbin-based farmer — was bullish the Goldfields, Murchison and Gascoyne’s respective cluster-cell projects, alongside doggers, would help return sheep to the rangelands.

“We need to provide the opportunity for people to go back into running sheep again,” he said.

“That’s not to say they have to do it but it gives them the opportunity to do it.”

Works on the final 218km section of the 1400km Murchison Regional Vermin Council cell have begun, with the fence to encompass 6.53 million hectares and 52 pastoral leases once complete.

It will work in conjunction with the 180km Murchison hub cell fence, set to surround four pastoral leases, to fortify pastoralists’ wild dog protection, according to Mr Davies.

“If the MRVC fence gets finished and the hub gets built, which is the intention for both, other fences could come off from the hub joining to the cell,” he said.

“Potentially, it could create other hubs within the MRVC fence.

“Within 6 million hectares of the MRVC area, 52 pastoral properties, it is going to be a mammoth effort to clear the dogs out in the first place.”

Work on the Kalgoorlie Pastoral Alliance’s $8.4 million cluster cell, to surround 2.4 million hectares of pastoral land and 11 stations once finished, started in June.

The State Government has also committed $986,000 to the proposed 362km Carnarvon Rangelands Barrier Fence.

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