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Turon baiting strategy keeps wild dogs at bay

The Turon Wild Dog Association has just finished another successful baiting program aimed at keeping wild dogs and foxes at bay over the winter.

More than 40 landholders took part in the project, laying almost 5000 baits across some 35,000 hectares of steep, heavily timbered country in the Turondale region, including the Sally's Flat, Crudine, Palmers Oakey, Wattle Flat, Limekilns and Bridle Track areas.

Since the baiting program was completed in May, Turon Wild Dog Association Chair, Malcolm Healey, says there has been a sharp decline in dog activity.

"We have seen quite a few dead foxes and there's been very little dog movement," said Malcolm.

Before the baiting, there were at least 8 different dog sightings in this area, while in the last 12 months at least 6 wild dogs have been shot or poisoned."

A rise in dog attacks on livestock prompted farmers in the Turondale area to work with the Hill End-Hargreaves Wild Dog Association on a coordinated baiting program in 2014.

The collaborative baiting strategy was so successful in reducing dog numbers that local landholders decided to form their own baiting group, the Turon Wild Dog Association.

"Prior to coordinated baiting, dog activity had been substantial and a lot of people had lost sheep to dog attacks," said Malcolm.

"When farmers work together on strategic control, we see a big drop off in predation from both dogs and foxes."

"Some farmers had seen a 30-40% drop in lambing rates due to foxes.  After the baiting program, members reported lambing rates were back to 90-100%, which would indicate the foxes were making a real dint in people's profits."

Central Tablelands Local Land Services worked with the Turon Wild Dog Association to coordinate the project and to provide chemical training and accreditation.  Local Land Services  also supplied meat baits injected with 1080 poison.

"It's been good working with Paul Medway and Local Land Services, we appreciate their help, particularly in getting funding to pay for the baits," said Malcolm.

Biosecurity Officer, Paul Medway, says the project targets dogs in autumn when they're on the move.  

"The timing is also organised to protect farm dogs, because landholders generally aren't shearing or moving stock at this time of year, so their farm dogs are less likely to be out in the paddocks exposed to baits," said Paul.                                                                                                        

Local Land Services also helped fund the installation of 18 trail cameras in strategic locations to monitor dog and fox activity.  

With more and more farmers in the Turon River area now working with the Turon Wild dog Association, Paul Medway is looking forward to an ongoing relationship with the group.

"Without effective control, dogs breed up quickly in this hilly, inaccessible country, so if we don't keep their numbers in check, we'll inevitably see more attacks on livestock," said Paul. 

For more information about wild dog and fox control contact Paul Medway at Local Land Services on 02 6333 2300 or email:  paul.medway@lls.nsw.gov.au

MEDIA CONTACT: Kylie Krause | 0439 608 370 | kylie.krause@lls.nsw.go.au