Warning some images in this blog may be upsetting to some viewers.
Please keep in mind livestock producers face these images every day!
I am going to try to present to you the impact of wild dogs on our property, why we need to control them and how we go about controlling them in a series of blogs.
This first blog looks at the impact of animal welfare of livestock due to wild dog attacks and wild dog attack occurences across Australia on a broad scale.
The second blog Wild dog management on Pastoral land #2 looks at wild dog problems in relation to our property
The third blog Wild dog management on Pastoral land #3 looks at methods of control using 1080 baiting of wild dogs.
Trauma to the animals – This is what wild dogs will do to some animals. Many do not survive these attacks!
Picture #1 – This is a calf of approximately 4 months old, her left ear has nearly been torn off by wild dogs. We captured and transported her home where she was kept her in a hospital pen. She survived.
Picture #2 – This calf was attacked, both her ears were torn off and her tail has also been ripped off. This animal was so distressed from her ordeal that she didn’t even move when we approached her. An animal lying in this prostrate state is an indication of their utter exhaustion, usually followed by death. We shot this animal to prevent any further suffering.
Picture #3 – This is a calf that was attacked several days before we found it. I am cleaning the wounds with water initially and it is coming out of the puncture holes in his skin down his legs. We gave this animal a broad spectrum antibiotic, applied fly repellent and wound sprays for a number of days including regularly cleaning the wound with salt water. Sometimes the dogs may not actually tear the skin but will cause it to disconnect from the muscle internally. Secondary infection is highly likely after survival of an attack. This calf survived but treatment and eventual recovery was slow and would have been extremely painful.
Trauma to the people – These are a series of quotes and comments in relation to Wild dog attacks, some are my own thoughts.
ABARES – Survey 2011 “Trauma experienced by farmers as a result of prolonged wild dog attacks on livestock was similar to that experienced by people who endured life threatening ordeals like car accidents or heart attacks”1
In 2015 each landholder spent an average of 26 days and $7200 a year on management of wild dogs1
In 2004 an estimation of livestock losses across Australia, disease transmission and control costs of wild dogs was $66.3M a year1
In 2011/12 NTCA estimated 60,000 calves and young weaners were killed or maimed due to wild dogs, costing $80M2
If half of those animals are females in the previous quote the loss of ongoing production, assuming a conservative 50% calving rate would be another 15,000 calves once those females had reached production age in each following year. If half of those 15,000 calves were steers then that is a loss of direct sale of a further 7,500 males lost for sale and 7,5000 females lost to production for each following year compounded year on year as those animals would have reached production themselves.
At current (2015) prices of $2.60 per kg for a feeder steer of 330kg to Indonesia year this is a conservative loss of an animal worth a gross value of approximately $850 each
NSW estimates losses of $50M per year due to wild dogs.
A 2009 QLD dog survey showed a presence of dogs in all QLD areas with no populations containing 100% dingo, an earlier study conducted in 2008 showed at least 85% of South East QLD dog populations were hybrid3
Animals deemed faulty can be rejected or discounted in price by up to $1/kg through Australian abattoirs4
Animals showing any form of scar or healed tissue damage due to dog attacks are rejected outright for sale into some live export markets5
Picture 4 – This is a steer that body wise is suitable for the feeder live export markets of Indonesia or Vietnam, he is approximately 350kg. He couldn’t go to those markets because he has no tail and has scar tissue on the lower left hind leg.
We record damage to new brandings (calving’s for that year) by visual inspection of surviving animals of dog attack. Damage recorded has varied between 8-11% every year. This means that 8-11% of the animals that we capture have some form of dog damage on them, we have no idea how many are born or die directly after birth due to attacks before mustering commences. We estimate a further 10% of calves never survive to weaning due solely to dog attacks. Effectively dogs, damage or kill 20% of our calving drop for each year.
The following blogs are in relation to wild dog impacts on our property and measures we take to control them.
1. Wild dog management in Australia – AWI ABARES 2015 wp525_wild_dog_management_in_australia
2. NTCA media release
3. QLD Wild dog strategy
4. ABC rural 27/01/2015
5. Personal Experience – Jo Bloomfield.