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Wild dog damage - an overview

Wild dogs (including dingoes, domestic dogs and their hybrids) are a serious pest in Australia. They cause an estimated $66.3 million damage to our economy each year, primarily through predation, harassment and mauling of domestic livestock. Wild dogs also impact on biodiversity - particularly threatened wildlife that may be in low numbers. However, the negative impact that wild dogs may have on native species may be countered by the benefits they gain as a consequence of wild dogs effects on rabbits, feral goats, feral cats, foxes, introduced rodents, and feral pigs.
The cost of controlling wild dogs also results in significant losses to primary producers and land management organisations. Because eradication is rarely possible, land managers mainly control wild dog populations to reduce damage levels, varying control effort by how severe damage levels are. The impacts of wild dogs therefore include both direct losses of livestock, as well as loss of resources invested in control strategies to reduce wild dog damage levels. 
In some circumstances where wild dog predation levels are particularly high, farmers are forced to reduce sheep holdings or substitute them for cattle. Such a change in farming enterprises can cost farmers signifncantly.
Wild dogs are considered a pest becuase they: 
  • Kill and maul livestock (including sheep/lambs, cattle/calves, goats/goat kids)
  • Kill and maul poultry and other domestic animals
  • Threaten native wildlife, especially threatened species in low numbers.
  • Threaten food security for Australian's
  • Threaten the livelihoods of farmers and economic viability of properties
  • Can have a social impact on farming families and rural communities
  • Can scavenge rubbish and be a general nuisance
  • Can adversely affect the genetic stock of farming enterprises
  • Spread hydatid tapeworm - the cyst of which are a risk to human health and cause livestock production losses.
  • Can kill or injure farm dogs
  • Can provide a reservoir for heartworm infection and dog diseases such as parvovirus
  • Can pose a serious safety issue to humans (especially children) if poorly managed.
  • may act as a serious reservoir for exotic disease, like rabies, if introduced to Australia.

Dingoes are also a native species

Under most State/Territory and Commonwealth legislation dingoes are considered a native species and are therefore protected. There is some public expectation to protect dingoes as an Australian iconic species and as a top-level predator that infleunce the abundance of species they compete with and prey on.

To read more about the damage Wild Dogs cause, go to:

Species profile:
Impacts of Wild dogs in Queensland http://www.dpi.qld.gov.au/4790_9481.htm
Costs associated with wild dogs in Queensland grazing industry (Agforce) http://www.agforceqld.org.au/file.php?id=262&open=yes
Invasive Animals CRC demionstration site - http://www.invasiveanimals.com/research/goals/goal-1/10t5/
Wild dogs prey on native and introduced species, source D Jenkins Wild dog impacts on livestock can be particularly gruesome. Photo source, unknown
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