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Wild dog tracking begins

A wild dog restrained and fitted with a collar prior to release.The wild dog monitoring program has started this week in Bago Forest around Tumbarumba and Batlow.

So far eight dogs have been trapped and fitted with GPS tracking collars in a project supported by local Wild Dog Committees and Local Land Services in Murray and Riverina.

Riverina Local Land Services is working collaboratively with Murray Local Land Services and other state agencies such as National Parks & Wildlife Service, NSW Forestry Corporation, NSW Crown Lands and the Department of Primary Industry Vertebrate Pest Research Unit, to undertake this state of the art wild dog monitoring and mapping.

The project will fit 30 GPS collars to wild dogs in four areas within the Riverina and Murray LLS region. The dogs are trapped, weighed, a DNA sample taken, then fitted with a GPS collar and released back into the wild. The collar emits a signal which is tracked via satellite. This is then sent back on a regular basis, for the next 12 months which give an insight into wild dog behaviour and movement patterns.

These maps will soon be available on both Murray and Riverina Local Land Services websites, for anyone interested to see where and how far the dogs are moving through the landscape.

The work is being overseen by Dr Guy Ballard and Dr Peter Fleming from NSW DPI Vertebrate Pest unit.

Dr Ballard, a wild dog specialist, has previously undertaken similar wild dog tracking projects in other areas of NSW and is considered one of the Australia’s foremost experts on wild dog tracking and behaviour. The project has animal ethics approval, with staff from Riverina and Murray Local Land Services trained to fit the collars

Dr Ballard said the program is designed to enhance wild dog control and management.

“Ultimately the information gathered will allow agencies and landholders to undertake more efficient and effective wild dog control”, he said.

Geoff Corboy from Murray Local Land Services advised that the normal wild dog control programs will be implemented in both Tumut and Tumbarumba areas concurrently with this project, including ground baiting by landholders, aerial baiting by agencies and trapping by Local Land Services contractors.

“If the dogs are trapped again, or poisoned then no replacement dogs will be collared”, he added.

Michael Leane, who is leading the project at Riverina Local Land Services said, “We want to reassure landholders that if a collared dog is trapped in the ongoing wild dog control program, it will be destroyed.

“By conducting our normal wild dog control activities whilst we have collared dog in the landscape allows us to evaluate the effectiveness of these programs in real time," he added.

Collaring of wild dogs is expected to continue in the Tumut and Tumbarumba area in the next two weeks. Local officers on the ground working on the project are Toby O’Brien from Riverina Local Land Services office in Gundagai (6940 6908) and Stephen Wilson from Murray Local Land Services office in Albury (6051 2215). They can be contacted for more information on the project.