Biteback

The SA Arid Lands Landscape Board coordinates the Biteback program to assist regional land managers inside (south of) the fence with best practice control for wild dogs, to coordinate a landscape-scale approach to control methods, and to impact on the wild dog population inside the fence.

The program Biteback: Continuing Coordinated Behavioural Change in Wild Dog Control and Management in the SA Sheep Pastoral Zone has been running since 2009 and is managed by SAAL Landscape Board and funded by the SA Sheep Industry Fund, Australian Wool Innovation and the Regional Landscape Levy, administered on behalf of the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board.

Land managers with similar geography and land systems are encouraged to work together in cooperative groups via the development of Biteback groups sharing integrated and coordinated best-practice control methods that include ground baiting (1080), trapping and shooting to reduce wild dog impacts.

The program includes bi-annual 1080 bait-injection services, year round access to manufactured baits, access to a trap loan service, encouraging the monitoring of wild dog activity, training opportunities for a range of integrated wild dog control methods and advice on future management, upcoming technologies and interstate developments.

It also manages an annual aerial baiting program for inaccessible areas of the region with high reported wild dog activity inside the dog fence. Annual injection services are available to land managers located outside the dog fence to reduce impact to cattle when dog numbers are too high. and offers its Biteback groups advice on future management, upcoming technologies, and interstate developments.

Biteback groups

Biteback management groups were established to streamline the transfer of information between land managers and coordinate wild dog control efforts by geographical location, inside and outside the dog fence.

Inside the dog fence, the 200 properties are divided into 21 groups, made up of between four and 23 properties, based on their physical location and travelling distance to coordinated injection service sites. Each group has a nominated group coordinator whose role it is to:

  • Coordinate group members and keep them informed about coordinated injection services, information sessions and training opportunities.
  • Ensure information about wild dog activity is shared between group members.
  • Liaise with the Wild Dog Project Officer about wild dog impacts and activity in their groups’ area; and
  • Encourage group members to monitor, report and control wild dogs.

Best practice guidelines

In October 2017, the SA Arid Lands Landscape Board released its Best Practice Guidelines for Wild Dog Control which are endorsed by Livestock SA.

The Guidelines were developed following discussion and feedback from land managers and Biteb ack groups over a number of years and are a reference tool for the best methods to control wild dogs based on an integrated management approach coordinating baiting, trapping and shooting along with monitoring.

The Guidelines set a benchmark for land managers and the Board to assess community efforts to control wild dogs.

Find out more:

 

Inside the Dog Fence (south)

Wild dogs present a real threat to sheep grazing, the predominant livestock industry inside the dog fence. Inside the Dog Fence in South Australia, wild dogs (Dingoes, feral domestic dogs and their hybrids) are a declared pest species under the Landscape South Australia Act 2019, which requires land managers to destroy them on their properties regardless of the land tenure and use.

The Biteback program assists land managers in the requirement to destroy the declared species with the following services:

  • The Best Practice Guidelines as a benchmark for baiting requirements,
  • Trapping kits which are offered on loan
  • Training/upskilling opportunities (e.g., trapper training workshops)
  • Access to manufactured baits (Canid Pest Ejectors, DE-K9 and Doggone)
  • Bi-annual 1080 bait injection services**
  • Access to 1080 signage
  • Access to wild dog activity monitoring data

** Due to the presence of 1080 baits in the SAAL region, it is strongly recommended that working dogs and any pet dogs entering the region are muzzled when out and about to reduce the risk of consuming a poison bait.

Outside the Dog Fence (north)

Outside the Dog Fence in South Australia, wild dogs/dingoes are neither specifically protected or declared but are acknowledged for their cultural significance and the ecological role they play in the environment.

Land managers in this zone should limit wild dog control activities to areas where wild dog impacts on livestock and public safety are likely. To support the ecological role of the wild dog, the level of control will be restricted by limiting the amount of baits (one bait per 2km2 based on property size) available for each property on an annual basis.

In situations where annual control measures are not sufficient to reduce impacts to livestock, land managers will be required to provide evidence of this through submitting a Bait Request for Exceptional Circumstances form to SA Arid Lands Landscape Board. For more information about this process please contact the SAAL Wild Dog Management Team.

Research

A six year Dingo Research Project coordinated by SAAL Landscape Board (then Natural Resource Management Board) investigated the relationship between 1080 baiting, calf predation/lactation failure, and biodiversity on cattle stations outside of the Dog Fence.

Monitoring

Land managers in the SAAL region have been sharing wild dog activity and control measures on their property since 2009. Initially, data was only collected from properties inside the dog fence annually, but has now been expanded to include all properties in the region (inside and outside the dog fence) bi-annually.

The data collected is used to report long-term trends in total control effort, fluctuations in wild dog populations and stock impacts over time and in the development of aerial baiting flight paths to ensure ‘high wild dog activity’ areas are targeted.

In the past paper maps of individual properties were posted bi-annually, but since the development of the Wild Dog Scan (WDS) app the program is transitioning to this online platform. The WDS application was developed in Queensland as a way to record wild dog activity and control measures across Australia. The app can be used on any smart device without an internet connection. The information collected on the app is accessed along with hard copy maps and included for reporting purposes. 

The app also gives land managers the ability to share wild dog activity information with each other, and can enable land managers to target specific dogs in real time before they experience stock impacts. The app is open to the general public to record their own sightings.

Find out more about WDS:

 Aerial baiting

In addition to the Biteback program, the SAAL Landscape Board conducts an aerial baiting program to augment the ground baiting program. The program began in 2012 to target areas of the region (inside the dog fence) that are inaccessible for ground baiting, and is a supplementary baiting program only offered to properties which are already ground baiting. Aerial baiting is undertaken in a fixed wing aircraft with a baiting rate of five baits per kilometre on selected areas. The aerial baiting program covers around 10,000km on average and deploys over 50,000 baits on around 97 pastoral properties.

Biteback annual report 2019-20

The 2019-20 Biteback annual report has been released and includes details about landholder participation rates in ground baiting programs, measures the uptake of Best Practice Guidelines and looks at monitoring, baiting, trapping and shooting controls.

You can read the report here

Biteback 10 year report - 2009-19

The Board has been working in partnership with the South Australian Sheep Advisory Group to deliver the Biteback wild dog control program to support the sheep industry in the rangelands since 2009

This 10-year Biteback report delivers data showing trends including increased landholder participation in wild dog control over that time, with a significant improvement in landholder participation

SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Plan

The SA Arid Lands Wild Dog Management Plan is an important document for the Board and the region, providing a guide to land managers and government staff to conduct wild dog management in the region. It contributes to improved cattle and biodiversity outcomes outside the Dog Fence – where the wild dog/dingo is neither declared or protected – and control program inside the Dog Fence where the wild dog is a declared pest. 

Find out more: 

State Government and Industry-funded wild dog trappers

The State Government and livestock industry-funded wild dog trapper program began in 2018. The $300,000 per year program is funded through a partnership between PIRSA, industry (Sheep Industry Fund and Australian Wool Innovation) and the four wild dog impacted Landscape boards (SAAL, Eyre Peninsula, Northern & Yorke and SA Murray-Darling Basin).

Participating properties are required to meet certain criteria to receive the services of a trapper including carrying out baiting in accordance with SA Arid Land’s ‘Best Practice Guidelines for Wild Dog Control’, committing property staff to personalised training with the trapper, and uploading wild dog activity and control efforts onto the Wild Dog Scan application. 

Find out more:

Working together

In 2016 the state government released the SA Wild Dog Strategic Plan 2016 - 2020.  The plan was developed by the South Australian Wild Dog Advisory Group (SAWDAG) in collaboration with the State Government, peak livestock and conservation stakeholder groups, the state and local dog fence boards and community members and groups.

The plan identifies the following four goals to manage wild dog populations and their associated impacts in SA:

Goal 1 - Detect and eradicate wild dogs inside the dog fence
Goal 2 - Prevent incursions by wild dogs through the dog fence 
Goal 3 - Protect the cattle industry 
Goal 4 - Ensure good governance for management of wild dogs across South Australia 

Find out about Primary Industries and Regions SA programs:

Biosecurity SA (a division of Primary Industries and Regions SA) is responsible for state policy and manages the trapper program. The Dog Fence Board administers the dog fence

Other resources:

PestSmart - Centre for Invasive Species Solutions

 

For more information contact:

SA Arid Lands Landscape Board Wild Dog Management Team 

P (08) 8648 5307    E: saal.landscapeboard@sa.gov.au

 

More information