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May 11, 2021

Wild dog project protect koalas

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A project is afoot to spy on wild dogs in rural areas around Lismore to trap them and ascertain if they are impacting on the local koala population.

The North Coast Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) and Northern Rivers Catchment Management Authority (CMA) have installed ‘camera traps’ on rural properties around Ruthven, in the south of the Lismore district in a joint project to determine wild dog activity.

‘The aim is to provide benefits to local landholders as well as native fauna, particularly the local koala population,’ according to Dean Chamberlain, Senior Ranger with the North Coast LHPA at Grafton.

‘The project covering a 25km radius around Ruthven is focussing on koala habitat in the Richmond Valley and Lismore City Council areas.

‘We have cameras on eight properties and have recorded wild dogs, foxes and feral cats on most cameras. Two cameras have recorded all three pests at the one site.’

Mr Chamberlain said the on-ground works are being carried out by LHPA rangers and Paul Meek, an ecologist with Keystone Environmental Consulting.

‘We will be conducting a soft jaw trapping program on the properties from the first week in July,’ he said.

‘All wild dogs trapped will be DNA tested to determine if their ancestry is dingo, domestic or hybrid dog. Stomach contents will be analysed to determine the wild dog’s diet.

‘The wild dogs will be measured – weight, sex, age and body health score.’

Information regarding coastal wild dogs is limited and this project should provide outcomes that will increase knowledge about wild dogs in this area and also improve control programs in the future.

Mr Chamberlain said the project team was looking for more properties on which to place camera traps and follow up with trapping if required.

A meeting of interested landholders and general public will be held at the South Gundarimba Hall from 10am to noon on Tuesday 16 July. Speakers will be Paul Meek on wild dogs, Jessica Sparkes who is conducting a research project on wild dogs in the Northern Rivers and Dean Chamberlain, Senior Ranger. This will be followed by a sausage sizzle.

Please notify the LHPA on 6621 2317 if you plan to attend.


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