Trial bounty to control wild dogs

The West Australian
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The State Government will fund a $75,000 trial bounty to control wild dogs in the Murchison.

The trial is designed to reduce wild dog attacks on sheep and cattle.

Agriculture and Food Minister Ken Baston said the trial would target an 88,000sq km region of more than 50 pastoral stations, which are all part of a proposed Murchison Region Vermin cell.

Under the trial, pastoralists will be able to claim $100 per wild dog scalp.

DNA samples will be collected and examined to improve knowledge about WA's wild dogs.

Mr Baston announced the trial at Challa Station, near Mount Magnet, this morning.

The Minister said $50,000 of the funds would be allocated to the payment bounty; the rest would cover administration, monitoring and a review of the trial's success.

"This is an important initiative to protect livestock in this area, where wild dogs have reached unprecedented levels," he said. "They not only kill and mutilate sheep but are growing bold enough to take on young cattle. The damage done to livestock by wild dogs is absolutely horrific.

"There have been calls from some pastoral and agricultural areas for a bounty to be paid to boost efforts to reduce wild dog numbers. I'm responding with a trial aimed at testing the value of a bounty system in Western Australia."

In an industry-led initiative, the trial will be run by the Meekatharra Rangelands Biosecurity Association under contract arrangements with the Department of Agriculture and Food WA.

"Only pastoralists will be allowed to claim bounty payments, but they can provide permission to external parties to kill wild dogs on their properties and pay them privately," Mr Baston said.

The bounty will be in addition to existing wild dog management activities, to ensure any benefit derived from the scheme can be clearly measured.

The State Government's Royalties for Regions program funded an upgrade to the State Barrier Fence and has committed to extensions at Yilgarn and Esperance. Eight additional doggers have been employed - bringing the total number in WA to 25 (part-time and full-time).

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