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Beefed up baiting program for the upper

Professional Wild Dog Controllers are being sought, to take part in a new, expanded wild dog control program in the Upper Hunter.

The Upper Hunter Professional Wild Dog Controller Program will see increased services available in the Singleton, Muswellbrook and Upper Hunter local government areas, targeting problem wild dogs and helping reduce attacks on livestock.

Expressions of interest are now being sought from Professional Wild Dog Controllers keen to participate in the project, to control programs, as well as reacting to dog attacks on livestock.

The program is worth nearly $1 million, over the next four years and would not have been possible without a significant grant from Australian Wool Innovation. Other key investors include Glencore, Rio Tinto, Bengala Mining Co. and National Parks and Wildlife Services. A memorandum of understanding has just been signed between Hunter Local Land Services and the Hunter Valley Combined Wild Dog Association to formalise the program.

Hunter Local Land Services General Manager Brett Miners said a combined program of this size has not been attempted in the region before.

“We welcome the investment from all the parties involved in trying to reduce the devastating impact of wild dogs on livestock and native species across the Upper Hunter,” Mr Miners said.

“We understand the emotional toll dog attacks can have on farming families and rural communities, which is why we need landholders across the Upper Hunter to work together with a nil-tenure approach to give the project the best chance of succeeding.”

The Upper Hunter Professional Wild Dog Controller Program will be run in conjunction with wild dog management plans currently being upgraded across the district.

It comes as Hunter Local Land Services completed its largest ever seasonal baiting program, with a record number of baits laid across the region thanks to an increased number of participants.

More than 57,000 baits were distributed, with more than 33,000 aerially dropped in targeted areas. Another 500 individual landholders issued 23,664 meat baits, across private property, mining industry managed country, National Parks and Forestry Corporation managed sites.

Hunter Local Land Services acknowledges efforts of the 39 groups involved in the Autumn-Winter program, with an extra 75 landholders trained through the Vertebrate Pest Course. 71 dogs were also reported trapped by contractors and local landholders.

“Effective control of populations of wild dogs across the greater Hunter region is a priority for Hunter Local Land Services, and we understand it remains a major concern for landholders, because of the devastating effect wild dogs can have on livestock and native species,” Mr Miners said.

The next ground baiting program will commence in October and any interested parties are encouraged to contact their local Biosecurity Rangers to get involved.

Professional Controllers or landholders who want to be involved with the Upper Hunter Professional Wild Dog Control Program are also being urged to contact their nearest Local Land Services office for more information.