by: Rural Editor Nigel Austin
- From:The Advertiser
- April 13, 201211:00PM
South Australia is in danger of losing the battle against dingoes as they move further south each year with a rapidly increasing economic cost. Source: Supplied
A DINGO population explosion is threatening the state’s livestock industry as the dogs move south and pose a rapidly increasing economic threat.
Wool growers fear the dingo problem will became as bad as it is in Queensland, where fewer than three million sheep remain.
Dingoes have reached near-plague proportions in the pastoral zone, after several good seasons and numerous breaches of the dog fence as a result of rain and flooding in the Outback this year.
Pastoralists are fighting for their futures as dingoes kill 15 to 20 sheep and more on some nights, while marauding dogs have forced some stations to switch from sheep to cattle.
Concerned pastoralists warned this week that dingoes were increasingly being seen south of the 5614km dog fence, built to keep dingoes out of the sheep country, stretching from the Great Australian Bight in SA to Jimbour in southeastern Queensland.
Invasive Animals CRC national wild dog facilitator Greg Mifsud said dingoes and wild dogs were increasing across Australia.
It was becoming almost impossible to differentiate between the two without DNA tests. “They are turning up in areas where they have been absent and causing great impacts in many areas of the country,” Mr Mifsud said.
“In other areas, we are seeing a huge increase in wild dog attacks in coastal and urban areas in eastern Australia,” he said.
Wild dogs are also causing a problem in outer urban areas in SA including a serious issue near Roseworthy, while 1200 dogs were killed in the Victorian High Country last year.
“The dog fence is still working very well, but if they get inside the fence and people don’t control them they can keep moving and breed-up,” Mr Mifsud said.
Wool Producers Australia president Geoff Power said he feared SA would lose the battle against dingoes and doubted the SA sheep population would climb back to where it was.
“I can’t stress enough that we have to make it the number one priority or they will be in the parklands in Adelaide,” he said.
Kevin Dawes, from Farina station near Lyndhurst, said everyone was having problems. He shot, trapped or poisoned nine dingoes between Christmas and early March when 3-4km of the dog fence north of him washed away.
Mr Power is chairman of a steering committee organising an aerial baiting trial in pastoral country, with baits laid along a 6000km path covering 71 properties: “We have some good initiatives in SA with the Biteback program and this aerial baiting trial, with landholders also being encouraged to participate in ground-baiting programs to achieve consistently high levels of control.”