A CALL for help by Southern Downs Regional Council has been answered in the form of state and federal government funding.
Under the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative, the council has been awarded a total of $200,000 to manage wild dogs in the Southern Downs and Goondiwindi Regional Council areas using aerial baiting.
The council advised Bush Telegraph that $125,000 will be used for aerial baiting of inaccessible country twice a year for two years from next month, but could not provide further comment prior to deadline.
A further $53,000 will be used to electrify strategic sections of the Stanthorpe Dingo Spur Fence to reduce breaches and damage by animals and to improve maintenance efficiency, while $22,000 will be put toward landholder training, planning and project management.
Federal agriculture minister Barnaby Joyce and Queensland Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Leanne Donaldson welcomed the start of the new project under the Queensland Feral Pest Initiative.
"Wild dogs are estimated to cost Australia's agricultural sector as much as $66 million each year through livestock losses, disease transmission and control costs, not to mention the emotional toll," Minister Joyce said.
"This project will include aerial baiting in Drumsleed, Pikedale, Dalveen and Inglewood to reach wild dogs in these previously inaccessible areas.
"It also includes improving a large section of the Stanthorpe Dingo Spur Fence, electrification of approximately two kilometres of fence in Pikedale and equipment to increase baiting efficiency and participation."
The project will be carried out in addition to up to six coordinated 1080 baiting campaigns for wild dogs, pigs and foxes conducted by Southern Downs Regional Council each year.
The existing baiting service for landholders does not incur a cost and Ms Donaldson said the aerial baiting project was now under way, with grant agreements signed and funds out the door.
"This project is informed by local knowledge, using advice from the Southern Downs wild dog advisory committee and other stakeholders," she said.
"Wild dog impacts will be significantly reduced and it will help ensure the region is well-placed to maintain low level dog impacts into the future. "The impacts of wild dogs are felt even more keenly during periods of drought, and this is a key project to help farmers protect their valuable stock at this critical time."