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Wild Dog Control
 
After shooting, cars and habitat destruction,wild dogs are the biggest killer of kangaroos and wallabies. Research shows that the failure to control predators is the single most important cause of failure of macropod rehabilitation and reintroduction programs. Combined with the fact that property owners in QLD are legally obliged to control wild dogs, we take dog control very seriously. Our experience has shown that there are only two effective means of control on our property, 1080 baiting twice a year and "howling up" and shooting any dogs detected. Trapping is not selective and cannot be used without danger to other wildlife. In the last 5 years we have effectively reduced the wild dog problem from one of our major concerns to a small and manageable issue.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Monitoring
 
Over a number of years we have identified the paths taken by wild dogs when they come on to our property. We routinely monitor these trails looking for fresh tracks. We have also tried several different types of trail camera. The most successful and cost effective so far has been the  Bushnell Trail Sentry. This is a low cost camera with infrared flash and a removable SD card and comes with a solar panel. The case is not lockable and the cables need to be rerouted to make it sturdy enough for regular use, but it is a cheap solution for static trail monitoring.
We also put out unpoisoned baits from time to time in conjunction with the cameras to see whether there are dogs around who are not following the usual trails. The picture on the right was taken a couple of years ago with an earlier camera that didnt have an infrared flash.
 
 
 
 
 
 
About Wild Dogs
 
Dingos have been part of the Australian wildlife for thousands of years and are the our only large predator. Since the arrival of white settlers the dingo has been crossed with escaped and dumped domestic dogs so that in most areas the dingo is almost extinct as a species. This map from the Invasive Animals CRC shows the extent of the hybridisation of wild dogs in Australia. It shows that virtually all dingos in the SE corner of Australia are highly hybridised with domestic dogs. Contrary to popular opinion it is not possible to determine whether a dingo is a hybrid using any physical characteristics of the dog. Long Grass Nature Refuge lies in the primarily hybridised area and we thus do not consider any wild dogs we encounter to be native species.
More information can be found in this excellent brochure produced in April 2012 by the invasive animals CRC.
 
 
 
 
 
Howling'em'up
 
With the small numbers of dogs now in the area, calling in wild dogs, or "howling them up" is one of the only effective means of controlling them in the rocky, heavily timbered and undulating country that makes up most of Long Grass Nature Refuge. It is a long process requiring a great deal of patience. It first requires the presence of the dogs to be confirmed by monitoring and tracking. A shooter is then set up in a camouflaged location, allowing for wind direction and line of shot. Dingo howls are made, through an amplifier for anything up to an hour at a time to bring the dogs in. We use recorded howls on an i-pod played through a "big horn" speaker from Cass Creek and a .222 rifle. 
This is a sample of the howls we play through the amplifier.
 
 
 
 
 
 
1080 Baiting
 
1080 or sodium fluoroacetate is found naturally in about 30 species of Australian plants, including heart leaf poison bush (Gastrolobium grandiflorum). Consequently, native animal species have developed a level of evolutionary tolerance to the chemical and are generally less susceptible to its effects than introduced species. Dogs and foxes are highly susceptible to 1080, and the small amount required to target these species poses a minimal threat to non-target species.Fluoroacetate is rapidly broken down into harmless compounds in natural soil and water systems. Anecdotal evidence from human poisoning cases overseas suggests that there is little, if any, pain associated with 1080 poisoning. 1080 does not accumulate in the body so a fatal dose needs to be taken all at once.
Dog baits weigh about 200g and contain 6mg of 1080. The last column of the table on the right shows the weight of poisoned meat that is required to be eaten at one sitting to acheive this dose. A 20kg dog needs to eat less than 70g (1/3 of a bait) whereas a 5kg goanna would need to consume more than 9kg (45  baits) to obtain a fatal dose. A Wallaby may nibble on meat but is unlikely to consume an entire bait and a 300g hawk will not consume 100g of meat at one time.
Animal 
Average
Weight
mg 1080/kg
body weight 
grams
of meat
 
 Dog
 20
 0.1
67
 Fox/Cat
 5
 0.2
33
 Wallaby
 25
 0.3
250
 Quoll
 1.5
 1.8
90
 Hawk
 0.3
 10.0
100
 Goanna
 5
 55.0
9158
 
This table shows fatal dose of 1080 for various animals.
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