Wild dog plan to save sheep and cattle

Brad ThompsonThe West Australian
Dingoes roam rangeland in the East Pilbara.
Camera IconDingoes roam rangeland in the East Pilbara. Credit: Wayne Fletcher

The State Government is set to declare war on wild dogs in the interests of livestock production and public safety.

It is sitting on the final draft of a wild dog action plan which outlines controls costed at more than $21.3 million over the next 12 months and more than $50 million over the next five years.

The Government-funded action plan highlighted the growing threat to sheep and cattle from wild dogs with stock losses already topping more than $6 million a year.

It found populations of wild dogs, estimated to be almost 60 per cent pure dingo, were increasing in abundance and distribution despite existing control measures.

The report said mining companies were concerned about the increased risk to remote workers and that from a tourism perspective people must be able to camp and hike “without threat of wild dog attack”.

A cost-benefit analysis shows a big return on the investment in stopping the advance of wild dogs and cutting their impact by 10 per cent annually over the next five years with some property owners able to re-stock or increase livestock numbers by up to 300 per cent.

The sheep and cattle industries contribute about $1.5 billion annually to the WA economy and sheep producers hit hardest by wild dogs want to rebuild their flocks to take advantage of booming export demand.

“There is no tolerance for wild dogs in small livestock production due to the destruction they cause in direct attacks on lambs and adult sheep, and the production impacts from mis-mothering and stress on the mob,” the report said.

“Cattle enterprises across the northern and southern rangelands have reported significant and increasing levels of damage and losses from wild dogs.”

Agriculture Minister Ken Baston, who trialled a bounty on wild dogs in a bid to curb losses, is expected to embrace the action plan when he returns for leave next week.

It was prepared by the WA Wild Dog Action Group and the Department of Agriculture of Food WA in consultation with input from the Department of Parks and Wildlife,

Get the latest news from thewest.com.au in your inbox.

Sign up for our emails