$1 million for Wild Dog Alert early warning system
26 June 2015
The Australian Government will invest over $1 million in a project, in partnership with industry, to develop and test an early warning system that has the potential to reduce wild dog attacks.
Launching the project today at a farm outside Walcha, New South Wales, Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said the Wild Dog Alert system would use cutting-edge technology, such as automated image recognition software, to get farmers on the front foot in the fight against wild dogs.
"Wild dogs cost Australia's agricultural sector as much as $66 million per year through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs—and that doesn't even begin to take into account the emotional impact that wild dog attacks have on farmers," Minister Joyce said.
"Once wild dogs invade a farm, it can sometimes be several days before they begin to attack livestock. An early warning system will help farmers have first strike capability in their fight against wild dogs, so they can be proactive and put in place immediate and targeted management strategies.
"Each component of the alert system will be tested in the field and as part of this project, wild dogs will also be captured and fitted with GPS trackers so we can learn more about their movement and behaviours.
"The Australian Government will continue working with state and territory governments, industry groups and research organisations to help farmers combat the scourge of wild dogs. I commend the partners in this project, Australian Wool Innovation Limited, Meat and Livestock Australia, NSW Department of Primary Industries and the University of New England working through the Invasive Animals Cooperative Research Centre, who will deliver the project.
"The funding we have provided for the Wild Dog Alert system is complemented by $1.63 million we have invested to implement the National Wild Dog Action Plan.
"We have also committed $10 million for pest animal management in last year's drought assistance package, and have committed an additional $25.8 million in this year's Budget to continue to manage the impacts of pest animals and weeds in drought-affected areas.
"This investment is essential to the long-term protection of the contribution that our livestock industries make to Australia—wool exports alone were worth $2.9 billion to the national economy in 2013–14.
More information about Wild Dog Alert is available from the Invasive Animals CRC's PestSmart Connect website www.pestsmart.org.au/pest-animal-species/wild-dog.