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Trapping puts dent in wild dog population

The Pocket Farmer and wildlife carer Katy Stewart says the council's trapping program has done much better than baiting programs farmers have previously had to rely on.
The Pocket Farmer and wildlife carer Katy Stewart says the council's trapping program has done much better than baiting programs farmers have previously had to rely on.

BYRON Shire Council has declared its recent dog-trapping program a success, with 58 wild dogs, 21 foxes and five feral cats caught and euthanised.

The council has allocated another $20,000 in funding for the program to continue next year.

Traps had been set on more than 20 properties in Main Arm, The Pocket, Mullum Creek, Federal, Goonengerry, Bangalow, Cooper Shoot, Wilson Creek and Upper Coopers Creek to reduce the impact on livestock and wildlife, council's team leader of natural environment, Angus Underwood, said.

"With the help of landowners and their knowledge of wild dog sighting and live stock kills, a series of locations was determined and the traps set," Mr Underwood said.

DNA testing was also carried out with the results showing that the dogs were hybrids between domestic dogs and dingoes with between 51% and 81% having dingo ancestry, he said.

This result is not unusual for wild dogs in NSW, with recent research indicating that in south-east Australia a very high proportion of wild dogs are hybrids, with 99% of animals being hybrids or feral domestic dogs.

The Pocket cattle farmer and wildlife carer Katy Stewart said there had been a reduction in the attacks on domestic animals thanks to trapping.

"He got three dogs and a fox and then across the road I think he's up to 12 dogs," Ms Stewart said.

She said there previously had been about 10 packs of wild dogs with between six to 13 in each, but that had decreased. "We haven't got the amount of howling that used to go on night after night," she said.

While some claim baiting programs should be the first line of defence against feral dog packs, Ms Stewart said evidence did not support this point of view.

"It's (trapping) got to continue. It's so good."

Topics:  byron shire council, wild dogs



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